An intricate condensation of John le Carré’s novel, previously a BBC sprawler starring Alec Guinness. As the very dry, very British spy master Smiley, Gary Oldman is nearly at Sir Alec’s level. Tomas Alfredson’s film is all micro-plot observation, with expert details that link, fester, and spin webs. Sad, brainy, desperate lives carry on as if the games really matter, and there is wit in the folly. Impeccably used are Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, Ciarán Hinds, Toby Jones and, well, everyone. Not a movie for lazy viewing. (2011) — David Elliott
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