TV later is sorted with Gary Oldman and Tom Hardy in 'the best espionage film ever made' 7 months ago

TV later is sorted with Gary Oldman and Tom Hardy in 'the best espionage film ever made'

Superb acting throughout.

Now that Gary Oldman's firmly established as the frontrunner in the Oscars race, plenty of people are somewhat surprised that the star of Leon, True Romance and Nil By Mouth has never won the award.

The closest that the actor got to winning an Academy Award was in 2012 when his performance in the superb Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was beaten by Jean Dujardin (The Artist).

If you haven't seen Tomas Alfredson's (Let The Right One In) superb adaptation of the famous John le Carré novel then you're in luck.

The thriller is set at the height of the Cold War years of the mid-20th century. George Smiley (Gary Oldman), a disgraced British spy, is rehired in secret by his government - which fears that MI-6 has been compromised by a double agent that's working for the Soviets.

Having previously been adapted into the award-winning BBC TV miniseries, Alfredson's version managed to assemble one of the most impressive ensemble casts in recent memory. Aside from Oldman's superb performance, you've also got memorable turns from the likes of Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Toby Jones, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciarán Hinds, and David Dencik.

Be warned, if you're expecting a bombastic and adrenaline-pumping spy adventure like the James Bond films - this isn't that film.

Densley layered, intricately woven and slow-burning, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a methodical piece of work that's arguably more in tune with the cloak-and-dagger world of espionage.

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Special praise goes to Peter Straughan and the late Bridget O'Connor for condensing a labyrinth book that's brimming with twists and turns.

Despite Oldman missing out on the Oscar, it's clear that Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy really resonated with the critics.

The Irish Times - "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy can assert a serious claim to be the best espionage film ever made"

Empire - "Utterly absorbing, extremely smart and - considering this is a sad, shabby, drably grey-green world of obsessives, misfits, misdirection, disillusionment, self-delusion and treachery - quite beautifully executed."

The Hollywood Reporter - "It is one of the few films so visually absorbing, felicitous shot after shot, that its emotional coldness is noticed only at the end, when all the plot twists are unraveled in a solid piece of thinking-man's entertainment for upmarket thriller audiences."

The Guardian - "What a treat this film is, and what an unexpected thrill."

New York Post - "The cast is uniformly excellent, but as the ringleader of the Circus, Oldman owns the proceedings. In his limitless constraint - his commanding torpor - he is the equal of the magnificent Alec Guinness in the miniseries."

USA Today - "Tinker Tailor requires close watching, but viewers are rewarded with a moody, layered and involving thriller."

If you appreciate good acting and a plot that demands your attention, this could be the thing for you.

Don't miss it when it airs on Film4 at 23:15.