Based on John Le Carre's classic novel of the same name, "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" , the film is as good a spy thriller as it can get and a text book example of how convoluted spy thrillers need to be made. I approached the film with a lot of trepidation as I wasn't familiar with the source material and had read that the mammoth work was impossible to condense in a two hour film. Disappoint, it hardly did, what with the an eclectic all brit cast that included veterans such as John Hurt and Collin Firth alongside young turks such as Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy and headed by the incomparable Gary Oldman. Brilliantly condensed and written by Bridget O' Connor and Peter Straughan, the work is superlatively translated on to the big screen by Swedish film maker, Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One in). The smoldering tension of the 70's Cold War era is so effectively created against a foggy, grey London backdrop with minimal use of violence. What contributes to the overall feel of the film are the performances and especially that of Oldman's which easily is his career best. Extremely restrained and underplayed he is pitch perfect as Smiley, a weathered veteran agent who has lost just about everything personal and professional, forced to retire and then reluctantly brought back to carry out an internal investigation. The defeated, tired look on his face hides a menacing interior which you get a glimpse of now and then and which you realize could explode any minute. This is one helluva performance and rightly rewarded by the Academy which had long ignored him. He is ably supported by Collin Firth with another brilliant turn, Tom Hardy who rarely disappoints, Benedict Cumberbatch who seems on the brink of taking Hollywood by storm, Mark Strong as good as ever, Toby Jones and the venerable John Hurt. This is one film that gets better with each viewing and is going to age very well like old wine.