Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy [2011]

 J.C. Chandor did it last year with his Margin Call and now, director Tomas Alfredson and screenwriters Peter Straughan and the late Bridget O’Connor manage to do it again: making me feel incredibly stupid. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is dense and complicated. These days, I don’t have much time on my hands, so instead of watching the film two or more times to fully understand every plot point and twist, I took the easier (and shameful) route: pausing the movie and checking its Wikipedia page every time I got lost (which was often). The horror! But, aside from being pretty much indecipherable, Tinker Tailor is visually arresting. Cinematography, art direction and costume design are all top-notch. But even more impressive is the cast: Gary Oldman leads the pack in his understated, Oscar-nominated turn. Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Toby Jones, Mark Strong and Benedict Cumberbatch complete one of the best ensembles of the year.

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