DVD Release Date: March 20, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: December 9, 2011 (limited)
Rating: R (for violence, some sexuality/nudity and language)  
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Run Time: 127 min.
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Actors: Gary Oldman, John Hurt, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Toby Jones, Ciarán Hinds, Benedict Cumberbatch, Simon McBurney, David Dencik, Christian McKay

“There’s a rotten apple. We have to find it,” says Control (John Hurt, Melancholia), the head of Britain’s Secret Intelligent Service (SIS), at the beginning of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. A mole hunt is initiated. Nearly two hours of screen time later, the line is repeated and the movie completes its narrative journey. But has the journey been worth the time it takes to discover the identity of the guilty party?

For those who can endure it, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy has a nice payoff. But until that point, the film moves at a snail’s pace. Even viewers appreciative of methodical detective stories and icy-cold character studies will be challenged by this Cold War thriller, which, although well-performed, is mostly just cold. What’s missing is the tension necessary to make the story something more engaging for the viewer.

The story starts with a relative bang before settling into a much more glacial pace. In 1973, Control sends agent Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong, Green Lantern) into Hungary on an operation that goes horribly awry. The incident leads to the dismissal of Control and his right-hand man, George Smiley (Gary Oldman, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2), from the service, but it also underscores SIS’s suspicions that a mole has infiltrated its ranks.

The solitary Smiley, estranged from his wife, is soon brought back to ferret out the double-crosser. He works with Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch) in trying to identify the mole among a small group of SIS agents: Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy, Inception), Percy Alleline (Toby Jones, My Week with Marilyn), Bill Haydon (Colin Firth, The King's Speech), Roy Bland (Ciarán Hinds, The Rite) and Toby Esterhase (David Dencik).