Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Reviews

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David Thomson
The New Republic
June 20, 2013
The movie is riveting in the exact sense of the word: We feel nailed to the screen in the impossible task of working out what is going on-let alone why it matters.
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Connie Ogle
Miami Herald
January 6, 2012
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
January 6, 2012
Ultimately, though, it is very much Oldman's film, thanks to a restrained tour de force performance. Smiley is weathered, worn and beaten down by life, but he's also a quiet, sure force of something that resembles good.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
December 26, 2011
"Tinker" radically -- superlatively -- condenses John Le Carré's classic novel, which could scarcely be bounded by seven hourlong episodes in the 1979 BBC adaptation.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Calvin Wilson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
December 23, 2011
It's a well-crafted film that wears its old-fashionedness with pride.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
December 22, 2011
"Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" has a murkiness to it that perfectly fits a spy film; you need to pay attention, or the story will slip away into the shadows.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
December 22, 2011
Just watching Gary Oldman and his trenchcoated brethren march down the damp, ill-lit streets of Cold War London is enough to make you shiver.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
December 21, 2011
These guys make proper English diction as compelling as a gunfight, and "Tinker Tailor" as satisfying as any shoot-'em-up using real bullets instead of words to get its point across.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
December 16, 2011
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
December 16, 2011
A movie of chain smokers and whisperers, of grey skies and glum expressions, of rattling tea cups and rotary-dialed telephones.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
December 16, 2011
It's a 1970s story told in 1970s style, an unrepentant un-reboot so old school that it feels subversively new.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
December 15, 2011
In its attention to detail and awareness of betrayals both political and human, "Tinker Tailor'' is a movie for grown-ups.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
December 15, 2011
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy begins to seem phlegmatic after a while.
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
December 15, 2011
Alfredsen made the excellent vampire thriller "Let the Right One In," and his knack for brackish, enveloping atmosphere is rare indeed.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
December 15, 2011
"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" looks, sounds and feels exactly right.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Alonso Duralde
TheWrap
December 13, 2011
The screenplay is a marvel of exposition, offering a parade of characters (and their code names), international incidents, and alliances and double-crosses without ever leaving viewers baffled as to who's doing what to whom, and why.
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
December 12, 2011
It's a treat to be back in Le Carré's world, where amid the tangle of plots and counterplots there are moments of lucidity when you sit up and say, "I've got it now!"
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
December 9, 2011
The filmmakers don't try to jazz up the proceedings with a lot of then-and-now equivalencies. At the same time, it is implicit here that spy operations today are essentially the same, with only the names of the players and antagonists changed.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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William Goss
Film.com
December 9, 2011
Stakes more personal than political [keep] Alfredson's chilly approach from leaving viewers out in the cold entirely.
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Kyle Smith
New York Post
December 9, 2011
The cast is uniformly excellent, but as the ringleader of the Circus, Oldman owns the proceedings. In his limitless constraint - his commanding torpor - he is the equal of the magnificent Alec Guinness in the miniseries.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
December 9, 2011
A story about friends selling out friends, of wives betraying husbands, of everyone lying to anyone to gain an edge, an advantage, an extra bit of cash.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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December 8, 2011
Alfredson offers no concessions to hindsight, no lessons for today. Instead, he's kept faith with le Carre's bleak, romantically elegiac vision of a moment in 20th century history at once glorious and doomed.
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Dana Stevens
Slate
December 8, 2011
Even Alberto Iglesias' old-school symphonic score and Hoyte Van Hoytema's chiaroscuro cinematography aren't quite enough to provide cover for Tinker Tailor's rushed incoherence.
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Manohla Dargis
New York Times
December 8, 2011
The story, skillfully mined from Mr. le Carré's labyrinthine book and set in 1973, is a pleasurably sly and involving puzzler - a mystery about mysteries within mysteries.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
December 8, 2011
Tinker Tailor requires close watching, but viewers are rewarded with a moody, layered and involving thriller.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
December 8, 2011
This is a film to which very close attention must be paid, but the rewards of doing so are considerable.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
December 8, 2011
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.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
December 8, 2011
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy emerges as a tale of loneliness and desperation among men who can never disclose their secret hearts... It's easily one of the year's best films.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
December 8, 2011
Alfredson - taking an impressive step into the mainstream after 2008's wonderful Swedish thriller "Let the Right One In" - remains faithful to his source in both subject and spirit.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Keith Phipps
AV Club
December 8, 2011
After establishing an atmosphere of nearly unbearable dread, Alfredson keeps thickening and chilling it.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper.com
December 7, 2011
This is an elaborately constructed, sometimes maddeningly convoluted but brilliantly layered thriller.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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Christy Lemire
Associated Press
December 6, 2011
This is a grim, methodical world ruled by drab, mistrustful geeks who have come to relish their power, but Alfredson navigates it fluidly and keeps the many complicated pieces moving with quiet ease.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Keith Uhlich
Time Out
December 6, 2011
Immerse yourself in the world Alfredson creates, a paranoiac's nightmare of cautiously opened doors, enigmatic glances and soundproofed rooms inhabited by men in suits with shady motives.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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J. Hoberman
Village Voice
December 6, 2011
Best known for Let the Right One In, the bleak tween vampire drama remade here as Let Me In, Alfredson is strong on chilly atmospherics.
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
December 5, 2011
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Anthony Lane
New Yorker
December 5, 2011
Something in the drama has been dulled, and I was almost bored.
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Kathleen Murphy
MSN Movies
December 2, 2011
A meticulously visualized anatomy of melancholy, this challenging movie freezes you to the edge of your seat, adrenalized with terror and pity.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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Entertainment Weekly
December 1, 2011
A movie of deceptions within deceptions and clues that glide by in a murmured flash. It turns the very process of figuring things out into a vision of the world.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Dave Calhoun
Time Out
September 14, 2011
This spy story is all about the journey - the process - and the byways of the route, not the grand finale. This film's superb cast, script and direction threaten to make that journey equally as thrilling as Le Carré's book.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
September 9, 2011
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.
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Leslie Felperin
Variety
September 6, 2011
An inventive, meaty distillation of Le Carre's 1974 novel, pic 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.
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Deborah Young
Hollywood Reporter
September 5, 2011
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.