An extremely engrossing period set spy drama adaption of the famous book and mini-series which sets itself down as a smart, involving drama and fulfills that promise exceptionally well in the hands of director Tomas Alfredson.
In the middle of the Cold War, in a beautifully drab and washed out London (drab never having been more beautifully shot, I might add) George Smiley is brought back into British Intelligence to try and flush out a mole in the organisation. A mole who, if he truly exists, has penetrated the highest levels of the service. With a list of suspects comprising men he has worked with sometimes for years, and a group of allies................Smiley slowly and methodically must try to detect who that person is.
The film itself is one of those pleasing films where, whilst it shouldn't be too complex to follow, also is filled with moments that you must catch at the time. It requires only patience and attention to be paid to it, and what emerges is a satisfyingly involved piece of cinema. Director Alfredson deftly shades the lives of all the main characters as the mystery envelops you, using an effective flashback structure to develop story.
Performances across the board are excellent, and with a cast like it has, that's no surprise. Gary Oldman is impressive in his work, keeping almost everything internal to his character, a man who spends more of his life watching and thinking rather than talking. But the entire cast also works. The period detail also looks bang on and the quality of everything in the film emerges from every scene.
A thoroughly involving, exceptionally made film.