****/**** Image A Sound A Extras B
starring Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt
screenplay by Bridget O'Connor & Peter Straughan, based on the novel by John le Carré
directed by Tomas Alfredson
by Walter Chaw The easy thing is to say that Tomas Alfredson has followed up his tremendous vampire flick Let the Right One In with another vampire flick, a story of Cold War British Intelligence as men in shadows, exhausted, living off the vibrancy of others. Yet Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the Swedish director's adaptation of John le Carré's seminal spy novel, is something a good deal more than a clever segue from one genre film to another. Less a companion piece to the latest Mission: Impossible than a bookend to Lars Von Trier's end-of-the-world Melancholia, it's a character study, sure, but more accurately it's an examination of a culture of gestures and intimations, where a flutter of an eyelid causes a hurricane in another part of a corrupt, insular world. Naturally, its timeliness has nothing to do with its literal milieu (all Russian bogeys and '70s stylings)--nothing to do with recent world events that have an entire CIA cell blown up in Iran and Lebanon--and everything to do with its overpowering atmosphere of feckless power and utter resignation. It's a spy thriller that Alfred Lord Tennyson would've written--the very filmic representation of acedia.