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Movie Review: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Alternate Title: To Catch a Mole

Story: There are spies amongst us - or at least a Russian mole in the highest echelons of British Intelligence. It is 1973 and retired agent, George Smiley, is tasked with the arduous and complicated job of finding out who is the mole. Brilliantly directed by Tomas Alfredson and written by Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan this film based on the novel by John le Carré will give your brain a good workout.

This is not a James Bond type spy film. Most of the film is plot driven with very little of the type of 'action' you are used to seeing in contemporary spy thrillers. You, the audience must pay attention and be patient. I assure you that you will be rewarded for the effort.

The film is heavily atmospheric - with a gray, brown pall hanging over each scene. There are nuances galore and wonderful detail is paid to the hairdos, music and dress of the time period.

Give yourself a present and give your brain some exercise this holiday season and go see this terrific film.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TvdqRvCwGg

Acting: Gary Oldman as George Smiley is perfect and should be nominated for many awards for this role. Colin Firth as Bill Haydon, is deliciously suspicious. Toby Jones as Percy Alleline also raises wonderful eyebrows as does Ciaran Hinds as Roy Bland and David Dencik as Toby Esterhase. The entire ensemble cast is perfect including: Kathy Burke (Connie Sachs), Benedict Cumberbatch (Peter Guillam), Stephen Graham (Jerry Westerby), Tom Hardy (Ricki Tarr), John Hurt (Control), Svetlana Khodchenkova (Irina), Simon McBurney (Oliver Lacon), Mark Strong (Jim Prideaux) and John le Carré even makes a cameo appearance at a Christmas party guest.

Predilection: I like spy movies

Trivia: Director Tomas Alfredson also directed the superlative 'Let the Right One in.' http://www.judithwolfe.com/lobosmoviereviews/reviews/letrightonein.html Gary Oldman received Time Out's Fringe Award for Best Newcomer of 1985-1986 for The Pope's Wedding and the British Theatre Association's Drama Magazine Award as Best Actor for 1985. His film debut was Remembrance (1982). In 1986, he played Sex Pistol Sid Vicious in the biopic Sid and Nancy (1986), picking up the Evening Standard Film Award as Best Newcomer. In 1988, he received a Best Actor nomination from the British Academy of Film and TV Arts for his portrayal of '60s playwright Joe Orton. His ability to transform himself physically and his command of accents have allowed him to play a broad range of characters and a number of historical figures, including, in addition to those mentioned above, Lee Harvey Oswald (JFK (1991)) and Ludwig van Beethoven (Immortal Beloved (1994)).

Critters: A few barking dogs and a bird that has a bad ending.

Food: Not much time to eat - too much intrigue - but lots of drinking.

Blatant Product Placement: None that I can recall.

Soundtrack: Brilliant music by Alberto Iglesias

Opening Titles: About 10 minutes into the film (which already has you hooked) come the titles.

Visual Art: A definite mood piece with some interesting art.

Theater Audience: Packed at the first show on opening weekend Sunday. This film is only playing at two theaters in Manhattan. By the way- you could hear a pin drop in the very attentive audience.

Weather: Cold, dark, rainy, foggy.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: If you do not pay attention you will be lost.

Predictability Level: I was pleasantly surprised. I did not read the book and had forgotten the TV series.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Yes

Big Screen or Rental: Go for the big screen

Length: A bit over two hours.