First things first: Benedict Cumberbatch alert! He plays Smiley's protegé in the movie. So now he has played the super-detective (in the BBC Sherlock) and the sidekick, with equal aplomb.
I got very confused while watching this movie, even though I've read the John le Carré book it's based on. It has
been a long time since I read the book, but I was sitting there thinking "I'm just not cut out for watching twisty movies any more." (It didn't help that I watched it in the theaters with no subtitles, and I've lost what little facility I had with hearing softly spoken dialogue, especially in non-American accents.)
So for me the movie was as if someone had taken the book, cut it up into scenes, put the scenes in a hat, and picked out a few of them at random to film them. They were beautifully, lovingly filmed. So it was actually as if the book were cut into scenes and then haikus were written out of the scenes, and then the haikus were filmed.
Afterward, I saw Roger Ebert's review
, and he said, "the screenplay...is not a model of clarity. I confess I was confused some of the time and lost at other times....perhaps...I don't have a mind suitable for espionage." So if he
couldn't follow the story either, then I guess I don't have to feel bad. I might re-read the books and then re-watch the movie to see if it makes more sense.
It was nice to see Oldman play someone other than a sociopath. Although I have to say he went as far as he could toward making Smiley sociopath-like.( tiny spoiler. also, possible spoilers in comments )