When we think of spies, we think of Bond and Bourne. And tension in spy movies is created by car chases, gunfights and the like. You won't find any of that in TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY. All the tension and drama comes from the pursuit of a mole in MI6. George Smiley (Gary Oldman) is charged with finding out who the mole is. It's a clever game for clever people. These are not daring men of action (or they don't appear to be until maybe the end of the movie). These are analysts and soldiers of the Cold War. Moving chess pieces and testing loyalties is what their spy craft is made of. The script by Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan uses situations and perceived threats to create drama. It's also a first rate whodunnit. Who is that mole inside the top echelon of MI6? I won't give it away, but the movie allows you to put the pieces together along with Smiley and doesn't give too much away. Oldman is fabulous as the quiet but knowing Smiley, a man who is dangerous to his enemies, but has a blind spot (again, no fair me telling you). His Oscar nomination is well earned. TTSS makes you think and pay attention and does it without boring you. A movie that's thought provoking and not boring. That's a puzzle that Hollywood solves all too rarely. — Alan Yudman

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