Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy ★★★★★

Maybe I'm just experiencing withdrawal after two days without a chance to watch a movie, but I found Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy utterly and completely gorgeous. Every shot and camera movement is choreographed and composed with a mind to both narrative purpose and aesthetics. Harsh lighting and deep shadows are used to create an atmosphere I haven't seen so effective since 2008's Michael Clayton. The production design evokes the sense of a country in transition between generations and at war not only with external threats but with itself. Matt Lynch has already pointed out that the future is female.

I've heard two complaints about this film. The first is that it's slow which I frankly found to be untrue. I watched this at night after a long day including 4 hours in the car and my attention never waned once. The second is that it's convoluted or impenetrable plot-wise, and here I agree but I don't think it matters. While I can understand that some audiences like to have a comprehensive sense of what's happening, the confusion aroused here by the twists and turns puts the audience in the shoes of the protagonist. I think to say that this movie is hard to follow misses the point. Tinker Tailor is an experience that ought to include just as much confusion as wonder and admiration.