User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 354 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 65 out of 354

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  1. Mar 16, 2014
    0
    Critics, you had one job. One job. To help us avoid movies like these. This movie is a painful reminder of why the critics are sometimes dead wrong.

    There is no way anyone genuinely enjoyed this movie without having read the book. It is utterly bewildering, incomprehensible, and while it has great acting, an extremely convoluted plot. You cannot condense a story of this complexity
    Critics, you had one job. One job. To help us avoid movies like these. This movie is a painful reminder of why the critics are sometimes dead wrong.

    There is no way anyone genuinely enjoyed this movie without having read the book. It is utterly bewildering, incomprehensible, and while it has great acting, an extremely convoluted plot. You cannot condense a story of this complexity into two hours. It simply did not work. At all. If you have read the book, perhaps you will enjoy it. If you have not, avoid at all costs. Save two hours of your life.
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  2. Dec 18, 2013
    1
    Way too slow-paced for mid-twenties people to enjoy. My friends and I sat bored out of our minds through most of this movie. A couple interesting scenes, with good acting, but overall a lot of emphasis on watching characters walking down streets.
  3. Mar 31, 2013
    0
    I probably shouldn't review this since I slept through half the movie... then again I wasn't tired, it really did put me to sleep, it was so effing boring and I cared nothing for the characters, the plot didn't captivate me in the slightest. When the movie was over, there was an uproar through the audience complaining about just how awful it was. When I went to use the restroom completeI probably shouldn't review this since I slept through half the movie... then again I wasn't tired, it really did put me to sleep, it was so effing boring and I cared nothing for the characters, the plot didn't captivate me in the slightest. When the movie was over, there was an uproar through the audience complaining about just how awful it was. When I went to use the restroom complete strangers were exchanging stories about what points they nodded off and woke up and fell back asleep to. Not one person had anything good to say about it. And yet, critics have nothing but the best things to say about it. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what happened. They made a movie so high brow critics were too intimidated to say anything negative about it. Expand
  4. Oct 14, 2012
    4
    While this movie had strong acting, and was beautifully directed, and the storyline could have been extremely compelling, and the movie overall could have had quite a strong impact with all of the components it had, but the way it was handled in the script was atrocious. It was completely unnecessary to have the story out of order. Someone said you have to figure out what scene is where byWhile this movie had strong acting, and was beautifully directed, and the storyline could have been extremely compelling, and the movie overall could have had quite a strong impact with all of the components it had, but the way it was handled in the script was atrocious. It was completely unnecessary to have the story out of order. Someone said you have to figure out what scene is where by Gary Oldman's glasses. How are we supposed to figure that out? All it did was make it more confusing, giving the impression that it was actually more intelligent than it was. If there was something they figured out that was contrary to what they thought in another scene, you wouldn't know if the first piece of information was correct, or the second, because you wouldn't know what the real order of the story is. It's not like Pulp Fiction, Memento, or Blue Valentine, where it's out of order, but you can still follow it, or that there's actually some structure or method to it being out of order. This is just random. Not to mention, in those movies, the order they were in added something to the movie. This couldn't have added anything at all, except for confusion. You have to watch it a couple of times and piece it together yourself. If you confuse the audience, it hinders the emotional impact the viewer could have had, should they have understood the story the first time. By the third view, they might understand the story in order to be emotionally effected by it, but by then they already have seen the emotional moments, and they know they're coming. It's a complete waste of a solid storyline, strong directing, and powerful acting. I hope if you see it, and you are confused, as you will be, you don't try to walk out of the theater claiming how brilliant it was, because you really won't know, since you won't really know the story. Maybe after you've seen it enough times to piece it together, so that you can actually understand what the story is, then you can say that. If they did it in order, then the story would've been just as strong, but possible to understand, and therefore it would've had the initial impact it could have had. Expand
  5. Sep 21, 2012
    0
    Omg, are we all watching the same film ?! This was horrible, just horrible. The pacing is glacial, the characters are dull and lifeless, the actors are all old, washed up B- and C-players, the soundtrack and dull visuals are designed to bring on sleep - quickly. What a terrible waste of story telling. It portrays English society as dull, boring, archaic, just ugh. I can't recommend thisOmg, are we all watching the same film ?! This was horrible, just horrible. The pacing is glacial, the characters are dull and lifeless, the actors are all old, washed up B- and C-players, the soundtrack and dull visuals are designed to bring on sleep - quickly. What a terrible waste of story telling. It portrays English society as dull, boring, archaic, just ugh. I can't recommend this for any reason at all. Expand
  6. Aug 17, 2012
    3
    in reality this movie is just plain confusing. it starts off ok, but suddenly there are a number of random event and it becomes incredibly hard to follow whats going on. the only thing that somewhat saves this movie are its actors. Gary Oldman, John Hurt, Colin Firth, Toby Jones, and Mark Strong all give great performance as usual. but that doesnt completely save a movie when theirin reality this movie is just plain confusing. it starts off ok, but suddenly there are a number of random event and it becomes incredibly hard to follow whats going on. the only thing that somewhat saves this movie are its actors. Gary Oldman, John Hurt, Colin Firth, Toby Jones, and Mark Strong all give great performance as usual. but that doesnt completely save a movie when their performances cant tell you whats going on. From what ive heard, this is a book-adapted movie. apparently people who've read the book were able to enjoy it. but if not, then its not worth it. try a different movie unless youve read the book. Expand
  7. Jun 4, 2012
    3
    This movie should have been fantastic. Good or great actors everywhere, doing a good job with what they have... the material is there... I was so excited for this but it's just not put together in any way that is remotely interesting. Yes, I get that I'm supposed to be in the dark with the plot - surprises will come in a spy thriller, but you can't make me watch an entire movie ofThis movie should have been fantastic. Good or great actors everywhere, doing a good job with what they have... the material is there... I was so excited for this but it's just not put together in any way that is remotely interesting. Yes, I get that I'm supposed to be in the dark with the plot - surprises will come in a spy thriller, but you can't make me watch an entire movie of mopey, sad, slow moving people awash in a world of gray, devoid of any fun, thrills, or excitement. It's just to down, too depressed to be enjoyable. Expand
  8. Jun 3, 2012
    0
    Yeah I actually gave up on this movie. If you like it than you are a liar. I don't think the director and producer understand the story. It was so bad I registered here just to give it a 0. Truly one of the worst movies of all time. I saw random people walking behind windows in the movie like Blair-witch and I am not sure if they knew if they were part of the movie or not.
  9. Apr 14, 2012
    0
    This movie is perfect example of why no one respects movie critics. This was one of the most boring movies I have ever watched in my entire life. I only rented it because it got an 85 on Metacritic, but I definitely am losing my trust in said critics. Why they insist giving high ratings to movies where NOTHING HAPPENS (this movie and A Serious Man, for example) is beyond me. I thinkThis movie is perfect example of why no one respects movie critics. This was one of the most boring movies I have ever watched in my entire life. I only rented it because it got an 85 on Metacritic, but I definitely am losing my trust in said critics. Why they insist giving high ratings to movies where NOTHING HAPPENS (this movie and A Serious Man, for example) is beyond me. I think they should get real jobs. Expand
  10. Apr 14, 2012
    2
    I saw a SAG screening of this that was followed by a Q&A with one of its stars. Amazingly, despite his presence in the theater, a lot of people couldn't sit through the entirety of the film. The guy sitting next to me was with his girlfriend, and opted to leave and meet up with her afterwards. And these are all working actors who appreciate a good performance even if its attached to aI saw a SAG screening of this that was followed by a Q&A with one of its stars. Amazingly, despite his presence in the theater, a lot of people couldn't sit through the entirety of the film. The guy sitting next to me was with his girlfriend, and opted to leave and meet up with her afterwards. And these are all working actors who appreciate a good performance even if its attached to a bad script. The movie is really difficult to follow and the characters are very hard to develop an attachment to. This is probably because the movie is an overstuffed adaptation of a much larger work. They tried to fit in too many story lines and to attach too many big name actors. The end effect is that the movie lacks the most important and basic ingredient to a successful feature: a likeable protagonist who we can root for in an understandable goal. It doesn't help that Gary Oldman chose to play Smiley, who would most likely serve as our protagonist, without any emotional reaction to the things he experiences. Another case of no single critic wanting to go out on a ledge against a great cast and director. So they all fall in line to praise a very bad piece of work that no one will remember at all in ten years. Expand
  11. BKM
    Mar 24, 2012
    4
    The cast is superb, the screenplay intelligent and the tone of the film is perfect. Yet you have to practically be a counter agent yourself in order to make any sense of the nearly incomprehensible plot and when you're on the outside looking in, the action is slowed down to a snail's pace.
  12. Mar 24, 2012
    0
    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is so messed up in so many ways. Gary oldman was terrible. the movie's pace is slower than a slug. boring isn't enough to describe how creative the film was. i haven't fallen asleep in a film in more than 6 years. this movie barely escaped from being added to the list.
  13. Mar 2, 2012
    2
    Stinker, Failure, Loser, Die. Critics who mistake the withdrawn acting and glacial plotting for intelligence, class, realism and authenticity are pretentious **** This is one of the most dull and passionless films ever made. People like George Smiley and these awful spies may exist, but they are human vacuum cleaners, sucking up all the oxygen around them. Tomas Alfredson, who made theStinker, Failure, Loser, Die. Critics who mistake the withdrawn acting and glacial plotting for intelligence, class, realism and authenticity are pretentious **** This is one of the most dull and passionless films ever made. People like George Smiley and these awful spies may exist, but they are human vacuum cleaners, sucking up all the oxygen around them. Tomas Alfredson, who made the chilly Swedish vampire movie Let The Right One In (much more original than this tosh) allows the frost to harden throughout this icy film. What a non-performance from Gary Oldman, who only 'ehts, dear boy' in a drunken scene with the flaming Benedict Cumberbatch, his hair all sprayed gold ('Will anyone think I'm gay?). Yet I am in a minority - the Brits have given this dross a 'Best British film' and Oldman has been nominated for a Best Actor Oscar. This speaks volumes for film critics who mistake this class ridden, awful, dense and dull type of film for one that is complex, adult, well acted, brilliantly written, etc. It isn't any of these good things. There is nobody to like in this film, no human to empathise with, no thrills or excitement, no great lines, no great message - just 127 minutes that unravel in front of your eyes. I give it 20% for the director (he makes what he can out of the dull script and the deliberate non-performances) and for the ending which sees Colin Firth as the bad guy, thank God. Did I say I didn't like it enough? Expand
  14. Mar 1, 2012
    2
    Maybe it was my fault, but I understand nothing, absolutely nothing of this movie, and when finished left with a big question mark in my head. I had hopes it was a great movie but I ended up totally disappointed.
  15. Feb 14, 2012
    0
    After so many others reviews on here already, I will keep mine short - Actually 1 word = RUBBISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  16. Feb 14, 2012
    1
    I learned a lesson (again) about the reviews of critics. Never again will I base my movie going decisions on them. . Did we watch the same movie? I think I fell asleep but I'm not quite sure. Why? For the moments I was awake, I was comatose. If you go to see this movie, bring a big cup of coffee with you.
  17. Feb 12, 2012
    2
    It seems that this is another movie, like Sideways, where critics are a lot more enthusiastic than the general audience.

    The acting was very good. The cinematography was great, it captured the era extremely well. However the plot was so convoluted, and it dragged in so many places that I ended up hating the movie. If I had gone to the movie alone I would have walked out, and I don't
    It seems that this is another movie, like Sideways, where critics are a lot more enthusiastic than the general audience.

    The acting was very good. The cinematography was great, it captured the era extremely well. However the plot was so convoluted, and it dragged in so many places that I ended up hating the movie. If I had gone to the movie alone I would have walked out, and I don't recall wanting to do that in a movie ever before.
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  18. Feb 6, 2012
    2
    I really don't know what Alfredson was trying to accomplish with this movie because it is neither smart or complex; It's boring, uneventful, and totally confusing. Trying to be cerebral is one thing. Totally leaving your audience in the dust is another. And I say this admitting that I loved Let the Right one in - a beautiful movie. This on the other hand is self conceited mumbo jumbo.
  19. Feb 6, 2012
    0
    Tinker Tailor Soldier Tin-Tin or whatever the movie is called clearly delivers the message that this is Tomas Alfredson's love letter to the $5 DVD bargain bin.
  20. Feb 4, 2012
    0
    Are you kidding me? I sat thru the whole film wondering when I was going to "get" it. Did I miss something? The flash-backs helped some but there were huge holes in the story. I had never read the series so it is obvious that one needs to do that in order to figure out what is going on in the film. At times I was yawning...and I even had had a double espresso and chocolate before I wentAre you kidding me? I sat thru the whole film wondering when I was going to "get" it. Did I miss something? The flash-backs helped some but there were huge holes in the story. I had never read the series so it is obvious that one needs to do that in order to figure out what is going on in the film. At times I was yawning...and I even had had a double espresso and chocolate before I went in! Even Roger Ebert thought it was confusing. Expand
  21. Feb 2, 2012
    0
    Quite possibly the worst movie ever made. Left the theater after an hour of utter crap. Anyone who claims to understand the garbage spewed throughout this movie was either an actual spy, or is most definitely lying. Just more arsty b.s. that the critics claim to be able to "get." Ooohhh....so compelling. Total crap.
  22. Jan 28, 2012
    4
    i admire the 70s looking film and ambience and music...but in the age of the BOURNE supremecy, this is flat out SLOW....slow slow slow slow slow slow slow
  23. Jan 19, 2012
    1
    Bad. Do not go... My husband and I were totally misled by the critics reviews. We generally enjoy insightful and intelligent films; we do not need things to explode and to view a series of chase scenes to find a film rewarding. We were both tremendously disappointed in this film. It is slow, convoluted, and just down right boring. I kept watching waiting to see what the critics saw andBad. Do not go... My husband and I were totally misled by the critics reviews. We generally enjoy insightful and intelligent films; we do not need things to explode and to view a series of chase scenes to find a film rewarding. We were both tremendously disappointed in this film. It is slow, convoluted, and just down right boring. I kept watching waiting to see what the critics saw and did not understand the ratings whatsoever. Generally, if you see a film with high ratings you at least "get" why it was rated that way. Not this one! It is bad. Do not go. Expand
  24. Jan 18, 2012
    0
    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a movie that started with a good book and turned it into a convoluted, confusing movie not worth your time or money. The flashbacks are confusing. The attempt to make an arts movie only distracts from the story.
  25. Jan 18, 2012
    3
    The start of this movie had me excited at the prospect of a cleverly scripted, beautifully filmed remake of a BBC classic but once into it, the feeling of disappointment started to overwhelm me. With an all start cast, the film never really connects, and is disjointed on all levels. Acting masterclasses from Oldman and Hurt do nothing but leave you wondering why such an all star castThe start of this movie had me excited at the prospect of a cleverly scripted, beautifully filmed remake of a BBC classic but once into it, the feeling of disappointment started to overwhelm me. With an all start cast, the film never really connects, and is disjointed on all levels. Acting masterclasses from Oldman and Hurt do nothing but leave you wondering why such an all star cast doesn't deliver. The characters are never developed enough for anyone to take interest in this messy remake. Two hours were never going to do this movie justice, and just what the critics were marking this on is beyond me. Great acting at times, cinematography is brilliant, editing leaves alot to be desired, confusing plot...definitely a movie for DVD. Sorry! Expand
  26. Jan 16, 2012
    3
    I should have known what I was getting into. Years ago I attempted to read Le Carre's highly acclaimed novel and surrendered to it half way through; it was too complex for me. Character names were a mishmash, the chronology was all out of sorts, and I found myself feeling as if I were lost at sea. Perhaps it was above my head, meant for a more erudite crowd. Whether the fault lay on my endI should have known what I was getting into. Years ago I attempted to read Le Carre's highly acclaimed novel and surrendered to it half way through; it was too complex for me. Character names were a mishmash, the chronology was all out of sorts, and I found myself feeling as if I were lost at sea. Perhaps it was above my head, meant for a more erudite crowd. Whether the fault lay on my end or Le Carre's, I didn't really care. I had too many good books waiting on my shelf to waste time on something that bored me to tears. A decade later, I opened up my newspaper and found myself reacquainted with TTSS; truth be told, I hadn't thought about it since I dejectedly returned my book to the library all those years ago. I was intrigued. The names tacked on the brilliantly designed full page ad looked like an Oscar party guest list and Thomas Alfredson's last film, Let the Right One In, a deliciously spooky vampire flick, indicated to me that someone at least halfway decent was sitting in the director's chair. Besides, movies aren't necessarily carbon copies of their source material. A muddled, confusing novel might find redemption on the big screen if handled properly. The basic premise of TTSS is extremely compelling: a mole has burrowed his way into the upper echelons of a British intelligence agency. Deceit. Treachery. Violence. A timeless, endlessly entertaining combination. I was suckered all over again. Why I thought the film would be any better than the book baffles me. It's got all the endless of "endlessly entertaining", and none of the entertainment. I sat through the entire movie but would have quit halfway through, as I did the book, were it not for my company. I didn't want to seem rude, as my date apparently loved it. Maybe she had a crush on Gary Oldman. Whatever her highly questionable motives might be, I don't really care, as I will not be asking her for a second date. This movie is boring and hopelessly complex- a disastrous combination. If something exciting happened every once and while, maybe a chair being knocked over or Gary Oldman actually showing some enthusiasm, anything, anything at all, I could forgive the convolution of the story. But they give us nothing. There are only two- count it- TWO shots fired in the entire (what seemed like) thirteen hour running time, and one of those comes in the last three minutes. A spy movie with only two gunshots? Unforgivable. For comparison, imagine if 99% of Saving Private Ryan consisted of Eisenhower and company planning out the D-Day invasion- drawing maps, calculating logistics, playing with action figures, wiping their arses, and in the last two minutes, we see Tom Hanks and his squad approach Omaha Beach and vaporize in front of our eyes when an artillery shell bullseyes their LVT. The end. That's TTSS in a nutshell for ya. I found myself lost at sea yet again. At the end of the movie, I still didn't know any of the character's motivations, let alone half of their names, who the villain was, or why anything happened to anybody. It's almost as if we were dropped into the film midway without so much as an introduction, and expected to follow along. I felt like it was my first day at work at a job I was hopelessly under-qualified for. At thirty minutes, I was checking my watch. At an hour and a half I was nearly comatose. Had the movie stretched past two and a half hours, I would have left the theater in a body bag. The three was only awarded because the film was technically superb. The acting was, as expected, superb and the setting- dreary, gray, and perpetually damp 1960's England- was fittingly depressing and moody. If this was trimmed down to four minutes and set to a gloomy Radiohead song about the Cold War, it would have been the best damn music video ever made. Unfortunately, it's a movie, and movies actually require some semblance of a story to entertain most people. Damn shame. Expand
  27. Jan 15, 2012
    2
    Before you see this movie, you need to ask yourself if you are an avid fan of the History channel. Because this Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy would be a great fit for the History channel, if the History channel was dull, boring, and uninspired. Tinker belongs as a feature movie in The Invention of Lying, which showed clips of this genre as spoofs to show how dry filmmaking would be withoutBefore you see this movie, you need to ask yourself if you are an avid fan of the History channel. Because this Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy would be a great fit for the History channel, if the History channel was dull, boring, and uninspired. Tinker belongs as a feature movie in The Invention of Lying, which showed clips of this genre as spoofs to show how dry filmmaking would be without invention. Tinker has now soundly proven the point.

    I am not one who needs to be hit over the head to "get it". I like films that drops subtle clues. But Tinker's subtlety was lost on me, and I felt I needed to be hit over the head if only to put a merciful end to the two longest hours of my life. The film's greatest weakness was time discontinuity, back and forth, over and over, using the same actors, who were no younger as they went back in time. The viewer is forced to continually be looking for the time-sense of each scene, so there was little time, or desire, to sort out the intended puzzle. If you like puzzles, you may very well like this film, but I would advise, instead, that you spend your two hours poring over the 10,000 piece puzzle on your card table. You will have more fun and excitement!
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  28. Jan 14, 2012
    0
    It is quite obvious that this movie does not lend itself to middle ground reviews; most reviewers seem to either love it or hate it. I grew up with the books and movies of the cold war era, usually enjoy the subtle play with hints and clues, value character development at times when more often than not CGI takes center stage, and certainly have no problems with slower paced material. TTSSIt is quite obvious that this movie does not lend itself to middle ground reviews; most reviewers seem to either love it or hate it. I grew up with the books and movies of the cold war era, usually enjoy the subtle play with hints and clues, value character development at times when more often than not CGI takes center stage, and certainly have no problems with slower paced material. TTSS should have been a real treat but unfortunately it wasn't. Trying to apply some common sense here the movie under delivers in such a variety of ways that it beggars belief. The plot is confused and unintelligible and, worst of all, leaves you wondering after 20 minutes why anyone should care about anything anymore. There are scenes with no apparent link or connection to the storyline (George swimming; the boy with the blue spectacles). Taken, Gary Oldman's low key acting is strangely fascinating at first but that effect wears off quickly. The otherwise great cast is completely wasted; take Ciarán Hinds who has what, a combined 10 min? And expect no compensation for the boredom the director unleashes on its audience as the production value of this movie is at the lowest possible end. Lighting and sound are miserable, and the photography as grainy as a super-8 amateur film. If that was intended to somehow recreate the seventies look and feel, sorry, I don't buy it. Watching TTSS has been two hours of real torture, and I can't remember any other example where critics reviews and audience responses diverge so much. A real shame. Expand
  29. Jan 10, 2012
    1
    A confusing shamble. If you took all the scenes from this movie, put them in a hat and pulled them out randomly, you would get the same movie. The only reason I give it a 1 was for the suspense that something interesting would happen and the shock that it didn't.
  30. Jan 8, 2012
    1
    This is one huge disappointing film, from beginning to end. The British in their endless fascination in their own history have, thanks to a famous novelist, now have a film about a group of their own Cold War counterintelligence agents, who dislike and mistrust each other, find American counterintelligence a threat, and talk about finding worthy Russian counterintelligence. But all theseThis is one huge disappointing film, from beginning to end. The British in their endless fascination in their own history have, thanks to a famous novelist, now have a film about a group of their own Cold War counterintelligence agents, who dislike and mistrust each other, find American counterintelligence a threat, and talk about finding worthy Russian counterintelligence. But all these agents, these people, do is talk quietly, sneer at each other, and so on. There are too many one-on-one scenes where the conversations are dull, often meaningless, since nothing appears to come of them. Maybe this is really the fodder of a stage play - a drama centered on one-on-one dialogue. This film got good reviews, bad box office, and now I understand the bad box office. But what about the film critics who liked this? Why are their views so frequently so different than those of us who pay big bucks to go to multiplexes? Expand
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: 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.