John le Carré's famous spy novel gets another adaptation- along with the radio and the classic award winning tv series, it finally gets the big screen outing it deserves. During the 1970's George Smiley (Gary Oldman), a retired British intelligence officer, is called on to investigate the possibility of a mole deep undercover. On top of leaking sensitive documents to other countries, the mole may also be actively hindering them by verifying false information. During the course of his investigation, Smiley uncovers that the mole may be one of four people in charge of overseeing the entire British intelligence service...
The entire cast is on top form here. Gary Oldman deserves an Oscar nomination, and I'd be surprised if Benedict Cumberbatch doesn't make the list too for best supporting actor. The film boasts an all-star cast, consisting of John Hurt, Mark Strong, Colin Firth and Tom Hardy. All of them are perfectly suited to their roles- this isn't a case of random A-listers thrown together for a movie.
The film also works really well as a period piece- the costumes and set design are all spot on. The soundtrack is great, using several period tracks and a really good score that doesn't draw attention to itself. There's also some great cinematography, including a fantastic scene shot on an airfield- I have to give full credit to Gary Oldan for not flinching!
Fair warning- this movie does NOT hold the audience's hand. Several scenes have subtle things that you're meant to pick up on if you're paying attention- the film doesn't blatantly signpost everything for you. This is not a movie to have playing in the background and except to follow what's going on- it requires your full attention and rewards you for it. It's hard to find fault with this film. The worst thing I can say about it is that some people may find it a tad slow. However, the movie is still well paced and it's compelling enough that even people expecting a James Bond-style spy movie will get over the lack of explosions and just enjoy it.
To sum up- this is a smart, well made film with compelling performances. The story, already a classic, will keep you guessing to the end. This is honestly the best film I've seen so far this year- and this definitely makes it onto my favourite movies list.
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