Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 42
  2. Negative: 0 out of 42
  1. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Dec 21, 2011
    80
    It's just as accurately described as a bunch of British guys sitting around acting. But what actors! The cast includes Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Mark Strong,Ciarán Hinds and Toby Jones.
  2. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Dec 22, 2011
    89
    One wishes for a chewier whodunit – there just aren't enough clues for the viewer to work with – and the reveal of the mole is perversely anticlimactic. But maybe that's just stickling. We always knew Smiley'd get his man.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Dec 15, 2011
    88
    In its attention to detail and awareness of betrayals both political and human, "Tinker Tailor'' is a movie for grown-ups.
  4. Reviewed by: James Rocchi
    Dec 1, 2011
    80
    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is the intellectual action flick of your dreams.
  5. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Jan 5, 2012
    88
    The film requires close attention, especially while it jumps back and forth in time for the first half-hour, but all the pieces lock into place tightly by the end.
  6. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Dec 15, 2011
    60
    Like the earlier film, this one has an airless quality, much of the action taking place in the hushed and colorless offices of "the Circus." But whereas the dank tone of "Let the Right One In" served to heighten the moments of poignance and shrieking horror, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy begins to seem phlegmatic after a while.
  7. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Dec 14, 2011
    75
    I enjoyed the film's look and feel, the perfectly modulated performances, and the whole tawdry world of spy and counterspy, which must be among the world's most dispiriting occupations. But I became increasingly aware that I didn't always follow all the allusions and connections. On that level, "Tinker Tailor" didn't work for me.
  8. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Dec 15, 2011
    100
    This is one of the finest achievements of the year, and while it's easy to lose your way in the labyrinth, I don't think Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is most interesting for its narrative pretzels. Rather, it's about what this sort of life does to the average human soul.
  9. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Dec 12, 2011
    83
    It's a beautifully modulated performance of a man whose presence, at times, seems on the verge of vanishing – not a bad attribute for a spy.
  10. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    Nov 29, 2011
    100
    Utterly absorbing, extremely smart and - considering this is a sad, shabby, drably grey-green world of obsessives, misfits, misdirection, disillusionment, self-delusion and treachery - quite beautifully executed.
  11. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Dec 7, 2011
    83
    A puzzle of a highly rarefied order. At times it's enthrallingly clever and subtle; at others it's borderline incomprehensible.
  12. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Dec 7, 2011
    91
    I had to see the new version twice to realize that there's so much to appreciate about this multilayered production.
  13. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Dec 8, 2011
    90
    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is an enormously impressive piece of work.
  14. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Jan 7, 2012
    75
    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is the anti-Bourne of espionage movies, a deliberate, cerebral, grim and utterly absorbing film that makes covert operations appear as unsexy as the Bourne films made them seem fast-paced and thrilling.
  15. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Dec 8, 2011
    95
    The movie's intricacy, and the way it finds its way into the emotional lives of its characters via (and not in spite of) that intricacy, is what makes it extraordinary. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy challenges audiences to believe in craftsmanship again.
  16. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Jan 7, 2012
    63
    All of the pieces fall into place by the third act -- or most of them, anyway. But Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is such a cold, unemotional film that getting there is a chore, muting the payoff.
  17. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Dec 8, 2011
    80
    Even those who adored Alec Guinness as the small-screen George Smiley will appreciate Gary Oldman's perfectly attuned turn as a Cold War spy drawn back from forced retirement.
  18. 80
    I've heard it said that Le Carré's work lost its savor with the end of the Cold War, which is as dumb as discounting "Coriolanus" because Romans and ­Volscians are no longer killing each other. Le Carré's subject was the national character and what happened to it under threat and in the absence of public scrutiny. It could hardly be, mutatis mutandis, more contemporary.
  19. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Dec 9, 2011
    88
    Thanks to his (Oldman) mastery, and Alfredson's, no film this year left me hungrier for a sequel.
  20. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Dec 9, 2011
    95
    The screenplay, by Peter Straughan and his late wife, Bridget O'Connor, is debonair. Alfredson's mastery of tone and ambiance is flawless. The bloodletting is brief and necessarily appalling, the comedy mordant: I guarantee you will never sing along to "Mr. Woo" in quite the same way again.
  21. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Dec 22, 2011
    75
    Even if you get lost - in the spyspeak, in the codes, in the comings and goings of grim-faced men with satchels full of documents they should not have - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is worth getting lost in.
  22. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Dec 22, 2011
    83
    A smart and engaging entertainment.
  23. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Dec 6, 2011
    75
    Tomas Alfredson's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy may be the best possible movie version of the story, but it illustrates that the big screen is not the ideal medium for a tale of this complexity.
  24. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Dec 8, 2011
    88
    Oldman gives a performance that is flawless in every detail.
  25. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Dec 8, 2011
    90
    What contemporary relevance you may find in Alfredson's chilly, marvelously acted and gorgeously composed new film of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - is a highly individual question.
  26. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Dec 15, 2011
    100
    Screenwriters Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan have clarified a few things that needed clarifying, camouflaged a few things that needed camouflaging - and gently tugged some passive flashbacks into the active present. It's a cagey adaptation.
  27. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    Dec 3, 2011
    88
    Order may be restored to the Circus, the "bad" elements weeded out, but in the jaundiced world the film has spent the last two hours so effectively delineating, the barriers between good and evil have been shown to be essentially meaningless.
  28. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Dec 8, 2011
    80
    The film's best moments are the quiet ones in which Oldman's ironically named Smiley provides the story with its wise, unsmiling soul.
  29. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    Dec 23, 2011
    88
    Yes, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is often hard to follow, perhaps overestimating the audience's ability to keep track of what's going on and why. But it's a well-crafted film that wears its old-fashionedness with pride.
  30. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jan 4, 2012
    67
    Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is boldly dull in protest to modern movie tastes, and that alone may earn it more praise than it deserves.
  31. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Dec 7, 2011
    91
    After establishing an atmosphere of nearly unbearable dread, Alfredson keeps thickening and chilling it.
  32. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Dec 15, 2011
    100
    This superb remake has the inevitable look of a period piece, a smoke-filled rendering of things past. However, thanks to Tomas Alfredson's direction, a taut screenplay, and a uniformly brilliant cast, the film also retains its contemporary relevance.
  33. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    Nov 29, 2011
    80
    It is one of the few films so visually absorbing, felicitous shot after shot, that its emotional coldness is noticed only at the end, when all the plot twists are unraveled in a solid piece of thinking-man's entertainment for upmarket thriller audiences.
  34. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Dec 8, 2011
    90
    A pleasurably sly and involving puzzler - a mystery about mysteries within mysteries.
  35. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Dec 27, 2011
    50
    The new film will recruit new friends to the cause; but if we seek George Smiley and his people, with their full complement of terrors, illusions, and shames, we should follow the example of the ever-retiring Smiley, and go back to our books. That's the truth.
  36. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Nov 29, 2011
    80
    At two hours, the film version is a third the miniseries' length, requiring severe compression by screenwriters Peter Straughan (The Debt) and Bridget O'Connor, which they've accomplished smartly.
  37. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Dec 6, 2011
    100
    The Cold War is over, but director Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In) and his collaborators have brought those suspicion-fueled days to vivid life in this masterful adaptation of John le Carré's beloved 1974 spy novel.
  38. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Dec 8, 2011
    75
    The film employs a largely British cast that is perhaps the most impressive ensemble of any movie this year.
  39. Reviewed by: Leslie Felperin
    Nov 29, 2011
    90
    An inventive, meaty distillation of Le Carre's 1974 novel, picture turns hero George Smiley's hunt for a mole within Blighty's MI6 into an incisive examination of Cold War ethics, rich in both contempo resonance and elegiac melancholy.
  40. Reviewed by: J. Hoberman
    Dec 6, 2011
    80
    The latest Tinker Tailor is, in some ways, more explicit regarding various characters' sexual proclivities than was the miniseries. It's also more concise, but what's lost is George's pathos.
  41. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Dec 8, 2011
    90
    This version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy turns on the presence of Mr. Oldman, and he is an actor of great experience and accomplishment who has finally found a film that fully deserves him.
  42. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Dec 15, 2011
    75
    As a stylistic and narrative throwback, Alfredson's adamantly un-thrilling procedural reminds viewers of an era when viewers allowed themselves to be entertained by a good yarn about a few colorful or at least colorlessly compelling characters.
User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 354 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 67 out of 118
  2. Negative: 39 out of 118
  1. Dec 13, 2011
    0
    The movie is totally incomprehensible, dull and uninvolving. It jumps forward and backward in time at random, and Gary Oldman does an AlecThe movie is totally incomprehensible, dull and uninvolving. It jumps forward and backward in time at random, and Gary Oldman does an Alec Guiness impression. I don't know what movie the critics saw, but this is a total snooze. Full Review »
  2. Dec 12, 2011
    1
    Just saw a screening of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Stunned to read that reviews are good. Wait until real people see this, and not reviewersJust saw a screening of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Stunned to read that reviews are good. Wait until real people see this, and not reviewers who are afraid to call this like it is, one of the most confusing and convoluted movies I have ever seen. I was in a theater of industry members and the reaction could not have been more tepid. There was a Q&A afterwards and when asked if this was better than the Alec Guiness version the answer over and over was, NO! The direction and the editing is a jumbled mess. Timelines, story lines, characters, all muddled. Gary Oldman plays his part well, I lay this mess at the feet of the director and his editor. A final note, I absolutely adore spy movies, I devoured every book every written about the Cold War, this should have been right up my alley. VERDICT: Gutter Ball Full Review »
  3. Feb 13, 2012
    8
    Although hard to follow at times, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" is a intense spy thriller; one that knows what a real spy does. I recommend thisAlthough hard to follow at times, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" is a intense spy thriller; one that knows what a real spy does. I recommend this good film to the smart audiences. Full Review »