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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy 15 rating

Gary Oldman leads an all-star cast, including Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy, in this acclaimed adaptation of John Le Carré's esteemed spy novel.

Thriller 2011 127 mins

Director: Tomas Alfredson


Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In) directs this impressive reversioning of John LeCarré's esteemed spy novel, previously adapted as a much-loved BBC miniseries in 1979. Gary Oldman leads an all-star cast as George Smiley, a former British intelligence chief brought out of retirement to investigate claims of a mole amidst the secret service. Soon, some of Smiley's closest former associates are under scrutiny as part of an operation that tests his reserves of deduction, craft and precision.

In reducing John LeCarré's dense text, with its reliance on code-words and spy-world lingo, Alfredson and his scriptwriters Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan were presented with an unenviable task. But they succeed admirably, distilling a complex plot into a tightly coiled thriller that ekes drama largely through dialogue and quiet tension alone, without the spy genre's usual reliance on car chases and explosions. The result is a complex but highly rewarding work; one with the utmost respect for its audience's intelligence, which was rewarded with three BAFTAs and numerous other accolades. An incredibly assembled ensembled cast includes Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Hurt, Toby Jones, Mark Strong, Stephen Graham, Ciarán Hinds and Kathy Burke.