Director: Tomas Alfredson
Year Released: 2011
A respected former spy, Smiley (Gary Oldman) is brought back to MI6 (aka "The Circus") to figure out which top operative is actually a mole working for the Russians ... and he has a lot of suspicious characters to sift through and a lot of stories and clues to pick apart. While this set-up sounds promising, the execution is botched by Alfredson and his screenwriters - for starters, the source novel by John le Carré is incredibly dense, and this has little flow between its various (horribly fragmented) scenes: I was watching it with my Father, who has read everything Le Carré has ever written, and he had to act as interpreter the whole time. Alfredson - who made the very good horror movie Let the Right One In - gets the chilly, detached atmosphere down but fails to make this engaging - if the 1979 film adaptation (with Sir Alec Guinness playing Smiley) required five-and-a-half hours to spell it all out, why did anyone think a short-cut version would play well? By the conclusion I was left saying "oh, so it was the guy who wears a mean sweater" - not even caring about his motivation - and basically done with it. So much for intrigue....