Metascore
85

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

User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 341 Ratings

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  • 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 116
  2. Negative: 39 out of 116
  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. Sep 9, 2012
    6
    The plot is very difficult to comprehend, but the cast, the score, the screenplay and the atmosphere are all top notch. Ultimately, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a fairly enjoyable movie. 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? Collapse
  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 116 User Reviews

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