I saw Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy when it came to theaters in 2011, and then promptly forgot almost everything that happened.
Now, after a second viewing, I see why: This is a dense movie that deals almost exclusively in subtle turns rather than big moments, which is both good and bad.
The visuals of the film are as beautiful as “the bleakest side of the Cold War” can get, and Gary Oldman is excellent as George Smiley, imbuing the character with the pain and weight of a mostly-unseen history.
On the other side, many of the key relationships among Smiley, Control, and the other spies in “The Circus” get short shrift, to the point that the reveal of who has been betraying his peers falls a bit flat. It’s a shame this same cast — which includes Toby Jones, Benedict Cumberbatch, and John Hurt — didn’t adapt the other novels by John Le Carré, to fill out this world, as this movie on its own doesn’t quite do it for me.