There is a mole at the top of British intelligence. He's been there for years. In order to find him, George Smiley (Gary Oldman) is brought out of retirement. He can't trust anyone, and he is being watched all the time.
This is a rare intelligent spy thriller. There are no explosions or car chases. Everything is done with dialogue and restraint. Oldman's performance is a master class in minimalist acting. Rather than going over the top, he barely says a word. Sometimes he raises an eyebrow.
I was lost for the first half of the movie. It keeps jumping around in time, and sometimes it's hard to tell which timeframe a scene is taking place in. But by the second half, it was all making sense. This is a movie to watch and enjoy, just letting the dialogue and atmosphere wash over you.
Besides Oldman, the cast includes John Hurt, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Toby Jones, Ciaran Hinds, and Tom Hardy. If you can pay close attention and not get too frustrated by the confusion going on, you will enjoy this. And it is even better the second time.