Have you ever said something to the effect of “Such-and-such an actor is so great I would pay to listen to them read the phone book”?
That is TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY.
Led by none other than Gary Oldman and backed up by a veritable choir of stony faced Brits the film manages to deliver drama and pathos without ever requiring its cast to emote much beyond mild disgruntlement. Nobody really DOES much of ANYTHING, for the most part the actors sit in a variety of darkened rooms, ensconced in wreathes of cigarette smoke and barely talking above a hush. Essentially they’re reading that aforementioned phone book and simultaneously kicking ass in the process.
At its heart TTSS is supposed to be about finding a mole buried within the ranks of British Intelligence. But that plot line is a bit of a red herring because everybody already seems to know who the mole is. The film is really about displaying a very specific time and place, the British Intelligence community during the 70s, and giving the audience a real taste of the paranoia and mistrust that ran rampant throughout it. Its smart, stylish as all get out and a treat to watch some of the greatest actors working today do their thing.