Some of what makes this film so compelling is just how adamantly different it is from contemporary cinema and, in particular, contemporary spy cinema. It's a gritty, complicated, kitchen-sink, 1970s spy film that doesn't so much feel like a throwback; it feels more like an actual film from 1972. It's also very good, intricately stitched together by director Tomas Alfredson and anchored by an incredibly still and measured performance by Gary Oldman as George Smiley, John Le Carre's version of James Bond. Oldman is surrounded by a bunch of other superlative British thespians so if you're not following the plot you can always watch the nuanced acting. About that plot: it's pretty hard to navigate and it's clear that this would have been a much better film at around four hours instead of two. But at a measly two hours it was still one of the best times I had at the movies this year.