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A new favourite has emerged for the top prize at the Venice film festival. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is an adaptation of John Le Carre’s famous espionage classic set in the Cold War.

Gary Oldman plays George Smiley who is charged with rooting out a mole in British intelligence.

Taking on the part comes with extra baggage for any British actor, given the status of Alec Guinness’s portrayal of the same character in an acclaimed 1970s television series.

Oldman shines as the taciturn Smiley, who is sacked from British intelligence after his boss orders an

operation to recruit a Hungarian general which goes badly wrong.

The cast includes John Hurt as his boss Control, and Colin Firth, Ciaran Hinds, Toby Jones and David Dencik as the four key spies who could be behind the treachery.

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