Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 42 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 337 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Summary: The time is 1973. The Cold War of the mid-20th Century continues to damage international relations. Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), a.k.a. MI6 and code-named the Circus, is striving to keep pace with other countries’ espionage efforts and to keep the U.K. secure. When things go awry, it's up to top lieutenant, George Smiley, a career spy with razor-sharp senses, to get things back on track. (Focus Features) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 42
  2. Negative: 0 out of 42
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Dec 8, 2011
    90
    A pleasurably sly and involving puzzler - a mystery about mysteries within mysteries.
  4. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Dec 22, 2011
    83
    A smart and engaging entertainment.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See all 42 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 65 out of 115
  2. Negative: 39 out of 115
  1. Dec 9, 2011
    10
    Tinker Tailor is one of the most planned out films I have seen in all my years. It is filled with subtle hints and images. It's a film that doesn't point things out, it crams the screen full of imagery and lets the viewer decide whats relevant just like Gary Oldman's George Smiley is. Its a film that marvels in the enigma that is Smiley and works best when you have no idea what he is thinking. It is one of the greatest thinking mans films. The performances are flawless with Oldman giving one of the best of his career and Colin Firth following up his Kings Speech role with something more in your face and exuberant that makes him stand out in a crowd of people known for secrets and lies. The cast is rounded out by some of the best British Thesps around from Toby Jones to Kathy Burke. The direction is so clever in the way it toys with the viewer. Its outstanding in every possible way, well worth a watch. Expand
  2. Jan 10, 2012
    10
    It was a great film. I thought everything in it was well done. It has some of the best camera work I have seen in a film. The acting in the film is very subtle. It's a very good foil to the classic, over the top spy films such as James Bond. Expand
  3. Jan 23, 2012
    9
    Astounding. Period drama with real teeth and depth. Oldman, Cumberbatch, Strong and Toby Jones are wonderful. Disappointed with Firth for first time in ages. Upstaged in TTSS by stronger actors. If you like slow-burning spy dramas - akin to The Good Shepherd - then this will be right up your street. Expand
  4. Dec 31, 2011
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Sadly, the movie feels more like looking out the window during a boring bus ride than as a mental roller-coaster. Which is a shame, as the cast plays wonderfully well and the cinematography and atmosphere are fantastic.

    I'm a big fan of movies like The Usual Suspects, thus I was expecting a whole lot from Tinker Tailor. I came out disappointed. The cinematography is superb, acting is very, very good and the atmosphere of bleek, tense spy-life is wonderful. But the pacing is incredibly slow and it's near impossible for (even for the mos intelligent of us) to really engage with the story: it feels like watching people you don't know do things you don't care about. I was also disappointed by the 'thriller' aspect: there really is almost no suspense apart from a few moments. Even as the story unravels, really big things 'click', I felt distant. It's possible to connect the dots and subtle (often visual) clues after you've seen the movie, but it never feels cool. In some of the great psychological thrillers, it's awesome to wacht it the second time knowing someone is lying, pretending to be something, that the protagonists are lead onto a wrong track. Nothing of that kind here. It's more of the type - "Ahh, those two shared a look then because they collaborated together".

    It's all very surprising to me, especially as more or less the entire cast acts very, very well. Oldman is sublime, again transformed into a totally different person, with suble facial expressions, gestures - you can often see him think. Same goes for Firth, Cumberbatch, the whole lot - the only trouble is that there are so many important characters, it's hard for the movie to create much of a depth for them. Most are just set there, without much explanation. You sense there is a story behind all of them (after all, it's a huge book), you just don't get it.

    In the end, there feeling is eerily similar to Harry Potter 8 part 1: Characters just going from place to place, off to find this or that which will then allow them to go off and find this or that. The goal of the movie is to find the mole, Mr.Smiley is quickly identified as the hero of the story and it's more or less inevitable that he will find him. One leaves the cinema wondering whether it was all worth watching at all.
    Expand
  5. 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. Expand
  6. 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 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
  7. 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. Expand

See all 115 User Reviews

Related Articles

  1. The Best and Worst Movies of 2011

    The Best and Worst Movies of 2011 Image
    Published: January 5, 2012
    Get our final rankings for the past year's best- and worst-reviewed films and see how 2011 compared to previous years.
  2. 2011 Film Critic Top Ten Lists [Updated Jan. 11]

    2011 Film Critic Top Ten Lists [Updated Jan. 11] Image
    Published: December 8, 2011
    Throughout the next two months, we
  3. Holiday Movie Preview: 23 Intriguing Films (and over 40 Others)

    Holiday Movie Preview: 23 Intriguing Films (and over 40 Others) Image
    Published: November 9, 2011
    The next two months will bring over 20 major releases and 50 smaller films to theaters near you. Find out which of those films are the most promising, and get a complete guide to all of the holiday season movies inside.
  4. Fall Film Festival Roundup: Reviews from Venice, Telluride, and TIFF

    Fall Film Festival Roundup: Reviews from Venice, Telluride, and TIFF Image
    Published: September 20, 2011
    With the 2011 installments of the three major fall film festivals now complete, we sample the reaction from professional critics and film bloggers to the movies generating the most buzz at the three festivals, including new works by Alexander Payne, Whit Stillman, Roman Polanski, David Cronenberg, Steve McQueen, and Madonna.