There is a lot going on in this movie which is surprising because it moves in a very unique pace, not face action. Its thoughfulness mirrors the inner thinking of the characters. The set design is wonderful. How delightful to see stacks of papers and books and work gear contrasted with the computer-centric offices of the 80's and 90s where no eccentric piles of junk seem to exist or be tolerated.(research material in this case....books newspapers, photos). This world seems like an eccentric uncle or aunt.
I kind of like the 70's in this movie. Drab, tan, boring, dark. I couldn't help think how appropriate that Gary Oldman who brilliantly played Sid Vicious was also playing this throw back to the same era. We needed punk rock as much as we needed alternative counter-cultures like feminism, gay rights, or home schooling etc to free us from this time. The spy business is one of the most effective machines of bullying and that reality is shown here where spies were built through bullying and blackmailing people who lived outside the customs of mainstream culture to do dirty work. And the spy business is a perfect metaphor for the dirty work of work. With a tragic economic crisis in the United States this movie offers a view into ways we betray our own beliefs, moral codes and each other for money, power, and kissing the ass of a corrupting social structure. In self-help circles like AA there is a saying "You're only as sick as secrets". This movie portrays the father figure as a sneaky back stabbing bore who preys on the secrets of others to control the family. Hear hear for the black sheeps who reject cultures that bully the human heart.