17. TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY (2011)
Slick. Very slick. So slick that you might have trouble following the details, but that’s part of the fun.
One of MI6’s best intelligence experts is brought out of retirement to find a high-ranking mole within the organization. I love a good espionage film, especially of the Cold War variety. This didn’t let me down.
There’s a tremendous cast in this (Oldman, Firth, Hurt, Jones, Cumberbatch, Strong, Hardy), but it’s Gary Oldman vehicle at the end of the day. His performance is very restrained, slow, methodical, and calculated. As a matter of fact, the film mirrors his performance in this way. It doesn’t show off, it doesn’t make a spectacle of itself. The film moves at its own pace — slow, orderly, and exact.
Some might find this to be irritating, since Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes films give you every single detail on a platter (along with slice-and-dice editing, gunfire and explosions). Tinker Tailor gives you some room to think and fill in some blanks, which I found to be refreshing.
A bit of espionage and detective work go a long way.
*** out of ****