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Reviews & Ratings for
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Not as good as I had hoped.

Author: rohansrider from bedford
5 October 2011

Interesting views here; terribly polarized. Appears to be a love it or hate it movie and as for me I think I know why its detractors were so disappointed. Given the wonderful ensemble cast I think they expected a stronger plot line and narrative building up to the revelation of the "mole". This did not happen and because the film was too short the final few minutes with the "mole " revealed were a let-down. I usually love a good thriller/whodunnit but this did not measure up. I challenge anyone to declare that they knew who was the mole by evidence shown. I don't think Smiley was really sure an in any case there were no definitive reasons given for why the "mole" was a double-agent. I found Smiley rather tedious and I did have the odd yawn. The flash back technique was at times confusing, and the film feels to be rather pretentious,almost implying that it's very cerebral and if you don't like it then you must be a moron. I am not a moron; I was not expecting an action packed film by any means but this was too slow. The lack of character development was also a mistake. It falls into the category to watch again on DVD and maybe I will appreciate the nuances and tiny clues. As someone already said not suited for the big screen. For me Tom Hardy stood out with Cumberbatch also very competent. Hurt was playing himself as usual, the rest were not that noteworthy except for Kathy Burke's small role which was excellent. It did capture the mood and drabness of the seventies very well and the cinematography was faultless; look out for an Oscar or BAFTA in that category.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Talky Boring Confusing Slow

Author: bigverybadtom from United States
9 August 2014

Another entry into the "bring together a cast of major stars and still have a bad movie" category.

This is a spy story set during the Cold War, dealing with a British intelligence agency that was shaken up after a botched operation in Hungary, with top agents being forced out. I wasn't expecting a James Bond movie full of cheesecake, fancy gadgets, or stunts, but I did expect more than a glacially-paced and confusing story involving mostly a bunch of men walking around and talking and shouting at each other. I bailed after a half hour; I couldn't make heads or tails of the story. Seeing the other reviews posted here I realize I hadn't missed anything.

The only good part was the nice, big, and easy-to-read subtitles.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

"Nothing is genuine anymore."

Author: classicsoncall from United States
18 December 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Without question, this is a film I'll have to watch another half dozen times or so to really know what's going on; the first two times just wasn't enough. And yet the story develops so methodically that it's impossible to divert one's attention because you know you'll miss something. Some will complain about the pacing and the non-linear story telling style but I found those elements drawing me in and forcing me to pay attention. Yet there's still that gnawing feeling that the film fell a clue or two short of allowing the viewer to figure out who the mole was sending information back to the Russians. In updated Charlie Chan fashion, Smiley (Gary Oldman) puts it all together but I really wanted to figure it out for myself, and so far I haven't been able to do it after a couple of tries. This is a quality film with excellent portrayals by a talented cast, so I'll be back again at some point. The haunting foreign rendition of "Beyond the Sea" at the finale was the icing on the cake for me.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

No doubt very interesting... but hardly watchable for even an advanced film audience.

Author: RagingR2 from Oss, Netherlands
15 April 2012

I consider myself to be well above average intelligence and well above average film viewing experience, but I seriously struggled to understand more than just the basic plot (well I got that after reading the plot outline beforehand). If you would have asked me directly after the film "Give me a summary of what happened there, and who was who and who did what.", I really would have struggled to come up with a sensible answer.

In the end it reminds me a lot of films directed by George Clooney like Syriana. New characters, semi-connected events, snippets from conservations, new locations and different points in time come racing by so fast that it makes your head spin. In hindsight the details of the plot and how everything is connected become (a bit) clearer, and some things made me go "oh of course, that was connected to this or that". But because of the rate in which these elements pass by and the seemingly haphazard and minimalistic way in which supposedly logical steps in the plot are portrayed, I really couldn't keep up with it while watching the film.

And much like the film Syriana, this film gives you the feeling that the sense of chaos caused by how intricately complicated things tend to be in a geopolitical/economical setting (Syriana) or an espionage/intelligence setting (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy), seems to be exactly the effect that the film is deliberately trying to achieve in it's viewing experience. Well if their intention was to convey a sense of chaos, congratulations, they succeeded masterfully at that. But that really isn't my definition of a film as a worthwhile viewing experience.

Don't get me wrong, the cast was really impressive, the music and the locations were beautiful and the acting excellent. And I'm really not suggesting that every film has to come in bite-size chunks. But if an intelligent person with an advanced film viewing experience (and I wasn't the only one) is struggling to keep up with the plot, there is definitely something wrong with the film as a 'film', i.e. as an overall viewing experience.

Thoughts that come to my mind are:

- Wouldn't it have been possible to convey the message or thought that they were trying to convey, with a film with half the number of characters (maximum) that were in this film now?

- Could we introduce some sort of warning label for films that have as one of their main goals to convey a sense of the chaos and intricateness of the events and relations that form its setting, so next time I will be able to avoid them?

- Or should writers who don't know how to select, compact, trim and condense so to speak, maybe be prevented from trying to make a book into a film?

By the way, one might reason that the film might be a easier to follow after one has read the book (which admittedly I didn't), but I have heard from several people that the book is at least as difficult to understand as the film, and what's more, doesn't guarantee at all that the film will be easier to understand then.

Well shoot me for trampling on the impressive achievement that a lot of people seem to think this film is. But as I said, I judge a film by the end results; a film is a viewing experience, intended for viewers; to be viewed, and I suppose also understood by them to a certain point, although apparently I might be mistaken on that last bit. Anyway that's just my opinion, and in the light of the above I really can't give this film more than a 4 out of 10.

If this review makes the blood boil (or worse) of people who loved this film than so be it, but I hope my review will at least serve to warn some other like-minded film viewers before going to see this, just so you know what to expect...

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Absolutely Hated It

Author: DeeJay Gee from United States
30 March 2012

Too bad to review........Oh jeez, I must have a minimum of 10 lines of text to review. Why? If it's bad, it's bad. Hated the filming - too dark and too much of the movie played on before you could determine the character. Too confusing. Never had a clue what was going on. Never knew what country the characters were in. This is definitely one of those movies where you must read the book first. The acting was so poor. I expected so much more from the fine cast. The only character half-way interesting was Benedict Cumberbatch. Do I have 10 lines yet? Must not. Let's see........ gosh I just can't think of anything to say. We fell asleep twice during the film. I'm not trying to be negative, just really, really did not like the movie. Maybe I will save someone else the rental fee.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful film but impossible to follow the story unless you've read the book

Author: larry-jay
12 February 2012

Extremely beautiful film. However, for us who have not read John Le Carré's book, the film is quite incomprehensible. The director has completely missed out that a story has to be told, in order to give cinema visitors more than just beautiful photo and splendid acting. I left the theater like a major wandering question mark, determined to read the book to eventually give the film a second chance.

Seriously speaking, the film was painfully boring and nothing much happens. Every now and then it felt pointless. I did find myself looking at my watch, wondering "When does it end?". The actors, nothing wrong, but wasting their talent on this film was really a waste of money and time. And speaking of time - remember that if you see the movie, you'll never get that time back. I already miss the two hours I spent on this overrated production.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Should Have Been Better

Author: killpandakill from Canada
1 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was looking forward to seeing this film. I heard great reviews and it was based on a John Le Carre novel (The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The Constant Gardener), so I thought it would be a great spy tale from the times of the cold war. I was half right. It is a spy tale from the times of the cold war but it is so boring and jumbled that I was having a hard time following the story.

In a nutshell, John Hurt is Control, head of the British Intelligence in the 1970's, and he resigns after an operation in Budapest goes wrong. He believes one of his four senior officers is a mole working for the Russians. Gary Oldman's character is Smiley, one of those senior officers and is forced out with the resignation of Control. Smiley is then asked by a top ranking government official to investigate a story told to him by a rogue agent, Ricky Tarr, that supported Control's (Hurt) suspicion of a mole in their midst. With the efforts of Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch), Smiley finds information that leads him to Jim Prideaux, who was the agent at the heart of Budapest operation. This allows Smiley to put the pieces together and discover who the mole is.

The beginning is painfully dull and once the story begins, the flashback scenes are so poorly placed and confusing. It's hard enough to follow an intriguing spy film and when you have so many flashbacks shoehorned into the film, it's just awful.

Also there are stories that never get developed or even resolved at the end. * SPOILER* * SPOILER** SPOILER* For instance, what was up with the relationship between the boy and Prideaux? Where was that going and was it really necessary? Was Ricky Tarr ever going to find out about his lover? Did Smiley ever confront his adulteress wife? And what was up with Ciaran Hinds' character, the Soldier? Did he even have a line? That is waste of good talent. I understand you can't fit everything in, but it's nice if it makes sense.

The ending also seemed tacked on, there was no confrontation between the characters and it didn't tie everything together. I also thought there should have been a lot less people surviving at the end.

I feel bad for the cast, who gave outstanding performances in the film, but this mish mash of time jumping, poor pacing and bad editing really doesn't do them justice. I'm afraid all this movie does is make me wish I had read the book.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Not as good as the mini-series

Author: The_Deputy from USA
17 January 2012

I realize a two hour movie has to cut things out that a mini-series running five hours can leave in. However, it seems the heart of the mini-series was cut out. In the end, this is a suspense story - who was the spy (or spies)? In the mini-series, we are early on introduced to Alleline, Haydon, Bland and Esterhase, particularly in flashbacks when Smiley approaches them individually, at Control's request. We can also see motives for spying - Esterhase is a foreigner, and unmotivated by British patriotism, Haydon is a fop, Bland is working class with a left-wing background, Alleline has characteristics which would bring to mind Kim Philby. This is gone in the movie, we're barely introduced to the suspected spies, and have no ideas what the motives are.

Then at the end of the movie, when it is revealed, we still don't really get an idea what the motivation for spying was, like we get in the mini-series. The entire Cold War context of this is drained. There was a real Cambridge Five in England, five men from the best families who went to the best schools, yet chose loyalty to the Comintern and the USSR over England. Fiction pieces like this are partially an exploration on what the motivations of such men would be, yet this is completely missing in the film. Absent the suspense, and the character motivations, the movie is rather empty. If they had switched around who the spy was in the movie, would it have made any difference? The answer is no, and that's the failing of this movie, ultimately there's about as much suspense as what card might get picked out of a deck - the answer is drained of all meaning.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Confusing.....but I may try reading the book and watching it again.

Author: becky9789 from United Kingdom
19 September 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Considering the hype and rave reviews from the critics, I was very much looking forward to watching this film - especially because of the star- studded cast.

Certainly, attention to detail was great, and the atmosphere was portrayed very well with some excellent acting. However, about half an hour into the film I realised I didn't have a clue what was going on. I dismissed this as having not quite got into it yet, thinking I was just being stupid. Eventually, towards the end I sort of pieced everything together, but only after dwelling on it and discussing it with others after the film.

It turned out that the 5 other people I was watching with (a mixture of generations I might add) didn't understand it either, so I feel justified in saying that this film is very confusing. I wonder whether I should have read the book or watched the original TV series before I went to watch it, because I don't think it helped that I wasn't familiar with the story.

While I wasn't expecting a fast-paced Bourne thriller and I don't need to be spoon-fed information, I wish there had been more care with relating the story in a film-friendly way. I think if I had understood it, it would have been excellent. There were far too many moments where you are just looking at Smiley having a think with some slow paced music, and the time frame jumped all over the place without much indication that it had. There were also some scenes that to me seemed completely pointless (they probably weren't, it was just that they weren't explained). Some more setting the scene would have been appreciated. The film also leaves a lot of questions unanswered, for example what was the benefit of being a double agent; why was Haydon one in the first place? What was the relationship between the agents?

Anyway, despite it all being a bit frustrating, my next step will be to read the book and maybe watch it again to see if I revise my opinions. I would definitely recommend to anyone going to see it to read up a bit about it first!

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

If It Looks Like a Turkey!!

Author: MrOllie from United Kingdom
10 September 2013

Well if it looks like a turkey, walks like a turkey and gobbles like a turkey, then just like this film, it is a turkey. I wanted to enjoy this film and was very much looking forward to seeing it. I remember the BBC TV series very well and tried not to make comparisons, but I could not help it. The TV series was slow but it had style and atmosphere and suspense. This film version didn't have any of these things. Gary Oldman as George Smiley could just as well have been played by a dummy dressed in a suit. He had no emotion, no energy and just seemed to sit there looking into space. How he ever managed to get a wife with his zero personality is a bigger mystery than who the mole was. No wonder the poor woman sought solace and satisfaction elsewhere. Everything just felt flat and waiting for that spark to get the all thing going, never came. I knew who the mole was from the start after watching the original TV series, however, had I not known I would hardly have been sat on the edge of my seat wanting to know because I would not have cared. We never really got to know anything about the four suspects who all appeared to be incredibly dull. Peter Guillam played by Benedict Cumberbatch was portrayed has a homosexual with funny coloured hair. Dreadful!! I was going to buy the DVD but am glad now that I never got around to doing so.

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