An amazing cast, a complicated spy novel and a great feel for the look of the 70’s can’t get me very interested in what’s going on in this movie.  That isn’t to say it isn’t interesting to watch.  With a cast like Colin Firth, Gary Oldman, John Hurt and Mark Strong (the boss from Kick-Ass), the acting almost carries the movie.  And director Tomas Alfredson recreates that “cloud” of 70’s cigarette smoke I remember so well.

The plot is pretty straight forward:  There is a mole inside an English spy organization.  Attempts to flush him out backfire and costs the head of the organization his job.  Gary Oldman is Smiley, his assistant.  After getting kicked out of the spy ring, he’s eventually brought back to uncover the mole.  Oldman’s performance is incredibly understated, but it makes it hard to understand what’s at stake.  Maybe it’s because the Soviet Union is long gone or maybe the low energy that Oldman chooses to infuse the character.  Either way, it’s hard to care about any of the characters and there is very little action.

Actual spy work (like police work) is boring, but who wants to see that?  The long of the short of it is this: You’ll probably enjoy the movie as you watch it, but ultimately it feels a little unsatisfying.  It’s like going on a two-hour car trip expecting to go somewhere, but ending up in the parking lot where you left your car.  I didn’t get a lot of the context here.  What was at stake?  Is this spy ring important?  What will happen if they DON’T get the mole?

I give this movie 4.5 keggers out of 10.  I suppose if you’ve read the book, you’ll understand the context better.  Maybe it’s a rental if you like to watch Gary Oldman act.