(Studio Canal) If you were to ask me who I think is one of the more underrated actors working today, I would undeniably say Gary Oldman. This versatile silver fox has a range all over the map: a self-destructive punk icon (Sid & Nancy), a chillingly seductive vampire (Dracula), and even a drawling white Rastafarian pimp (True Romance). From Leon to The Fifth Element, Oldman has been in a slew of cult classics. Recently, he stepped into the spotlight with such blockbuster series as Harry Potter’s father figure, Sirius Black, and the sturdy Commissioner Gordon in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
This winter, Oldman might just be up for that famed golden statue in the upcoming espionage thriller, Tinker Tailor Solider Spy. Based on the British spy novel by John Le Carré, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy takes place in Cold War England. George Smiley (Oldman), an impeccably cunning intelligence officer, is brought out of forced retirement to hunt down a Soviet mole in the British Secret Intelligence Service. He interviews agents in the high-up echelons of the government, determined to sniff out the traitor.
A chilling score by Alberto Iglesias pulses through the background of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’s trailer, revealing a British dream-team cast. Last year’s Best Actor winner and the best Mr. Darcy of all time, Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) leads the way as one of Smiley’s higher-ups, with hot newcomer Tom Hardy (Inception) on his tail. Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes), Ciaran Hinds (Munich), Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC’s Sherlock), and John Hurt (The Elephant Man) round out the impressive cast of possible suspects.
Tinker Tailor Solider Spy does not simply boast a phenomenal cast, but also Swedish director Tomas Alfredson. Alfredson captivated and terrified audiences with arguably the best vampire film in years with Let the Right One In. His grasp on pacing and intense visual style makes him the perfect candidate to direct John Le Carré’s thriller. With flashbacks to the characters’ secretive pasts and filmed on location in London, Budapest, and Istanbul, the film is sure to be a grand epic about a time of surmounting fear.
In fact, the novel itself is the first in a trilogy. George Smiley, Le Carré’s protagonist, frequents many of his stories, and if the Oscar buzz surrounding Alfredson’s adaptation is any indication, the film could easily be turned into a franchise. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy premiered at the Venice Film Festival and was the highest grossing film in Britain for three straight weeks.
With a number of biopics premiering this winter (conveniently in time for Oscar season), a taut British espionage thriller is just what the doctor ordered. Gary Oldman can make any role his own, and George Smiley seems a formidable foe for any dastardly Soviet spy. Though this year’s contenders for award season will undoubtedly deserve acclaim, I hope Oldman gets his due.
Why We’re Excited: Oscar Buzz, Gary Oldman, Spy Thriller
For Fans Of: Goldfinger, The Departed, Munich
'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' premieres in the U.S. Friday, December 9, 2011.