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TTSS Rollling Stone
Peter Travers
"Easily one of the year’s best films!"

Gary Oldman is one of the best actors on the planet. Feel free to pay homage at Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the devilishly clever film version of John le Carré’s iconic 1974 spy novel from Swedish director Tomas Alfredson, in which Oldman gives a performance that is flawless in every detail. This mind-bending thriller infuses Cold War espionage with the hot immediacy of today’s corporate treachery. Oldman plays George Smiley, a spymaster forced out of MI6 (the British Secret Intelligence Service), along with his boss (a hypnotically conniving John Hurt), for infamously botching a mission in Budapest. Alfredson stages the skullduggery for maximum suspense. Soon after, Smiley is brought back in, undercover, to ferret out a mole, a double agent selling out to the Russians. Colin Firth, Toby Jones, Ciarán Hinds and David Dencik power a dream cast as the chief suspects. Stir in a rogue agent (an explosive Tom Hardy), a youthful Smiley ally (the excellent Benedict Cumberbatch) and a former MI6 researcher (a dynamite Kathy Burke), and the movie ignites. Sex figures prominently in the spy game of manipulation. Each actor elevates the other’s game. Watching Oldman parry with the electrifying Firth or put the screws to Hardy without raising his voice is a master class in film artistry. Oldman makes us brutally aware of the emotions roiling under the unruffled surface of this anti-James Bond, showing the sudden cruelty that tilts Smiley’s moral balance until – even behind his owlish glasses – he can’t see straight. As Alfredson directs the expert script by Peter Straughan and Bridget O’Connor, the film emerges as a tale of loneliness and desperation among men who can never disclose their secret hearts, even to themselves. It’s easily one of the year’s best films.

TTSS Playboy
Stephen Rebello
TTSS Stars 4 bang
"Easily one of the smartest, very best films of the year!"

Along comes this superb, engrossing, brilliantly made big screen adaptation, magnificently directed by Tomas Alfredson and adapted by Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan. The film is so strong in every way, that let’s just say the Guinness version now has a worthy counterpart rather than a replacement. Set in a perfectly recreated atmosphere of 1970s, along with the accompanying dread and paranoia, this tight, hushed, intelligent and mesmerizing thriller is the polar opposite of a James Bond or Bourne action film. Gary Oldman's mild-mannered veteran spy gets charged by bureau chief John Hurt with flushing out a double agent within their ranks. Amid standout scenes and sequences staged with elegant cat-and-mouse precision by Alfredson (watch for a Christmas party scene with more than a touch of Hitchcock), Oldman sniffs out dark doings, lies and secrets among all-too-human SS colleagues played by Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Kathy Burke, Ciarán Hinds, Benedict Cumberbatch and Toby Jones. Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy richly rewards with slow-burn tension and extraordinary performances, especially by Oldman, Firth, Hinds and a standout Kathy Burke. Get your cloak and dagger out of mothballs. This is easily one of the smartest, very best films of the year. 4 stars!

TTSS Vogue
John Powers
"An enthralling fever dream! Gary Oldman is stingily cool."
Secrets are as lethal as weapons in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, a beautifully made Cold War spy drama that will delight audiences who like to pay attention. As stingily cool as dry ice, Gary Oldman stars as George Smiley, a semiretired spymaster who must track down a high-level mole in British intelligence. Working with a preposterously fine cast – including Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong and Ciarán Hinds – Swedish director Tomas Alfredson treats John le Carré’s classic novel less as a high-class whodunit than an enthralling fever dream about betrayal in all its guises.
TTSS Vanity Fair
Krista Smith
"A beautifully shot, tightly paced thriller! Gary Oldman delivers a fantastic performance. An impressive cast, including Colin Firth and Tom Hardy."
An almost unrecognizable Gary Oldman takes on the icononic protagonist. Swedish director Tomas Alfredson and an impressive cast, including Colin Firth and Tom Hardy, manage to modernize the thriller with no car chases, fight sequences, or Stedicams—just a beautifully shot, tightly paced thriller complete with trench coats, briefcases, and a Citroen DS21. The movie, set during the Cold War as it wore into the 70s, demands your patience and attention as it deliberately weaves together themes of political espionage, loyalty, and a fear well-known to John le Carré fans. Oldman delivers a fantastic performance, reminding you how talented this actor is. Joining him in the cat-and-mouse game are a trove of U.K. character actors, including Kathy Burke, Toby Jones, Mark Strong and Benedict Cumberbatch, who make the proceedings all the more watchable.
TTSS Empire
Angie Errigo
TTSS 5 stars
"Utterly absorbing, extremely smart and beautifully executed."
5 stars! It’s a pleasure and a relief that the film succeeds in its own right. It is a superior whodunnit thriller and a very grown-up one, devoted not to guns, girls, gadgets and glamour, but to the little grey cells. And in plumbing George Smiley’s grey matter, Gary Oldman has understood the illusion of being a nondescript sort of little man with a remarkable mind, authority and a gut full of secret sorrows and sins behind the serious spectacles. The starting point is a fine screenplay by Peter Straughan and the late Bridget O’Connor that rings a few changes to John le Carré’s tale. Most of them are subtle, sensible, and a couple are even a touch humorous. It probably goes without saying that the sterling cast is uniformly on top of things, undoubtedly delighted to find themselves in such excellent company. The real stroke was recruiting Tomas Alfredson. Alfredson is clearly a kindred spirit of both le Carré and Smiley, intently focused and with a dispassionate eye for the small, telling detail: on a face, in a room, from a conversation. Oldman’s performance is most eloquent and expressive in his fluent command of body language. The set of his shoulders and his posture, the occasional adjustment of his spectacles, tell you precisely what’s going on in Smiley’s mind. Alfredson is startlingly adept at envisioning how Smiley’s mind works; you can almost see the wheels turning as the pieces of the puzzle click together, and a clever piece of sound editing filters conversations through Smiley’s thought process until he homes in on a phrase that is the key to everything. And then there is his face in his final shot; we recognize the sweet taste of game over, game well-played in his mouth. Utterly absorbing, extremely smart and - considering this is a sad, shabby, drably grey-green world of obsessives, misfits, misdirection, disillusionment, self-delusion and treachery - quite beautifully executed.
TTSS Movieline
Stephanie Zacharek
"A beautifully constructed thriller. Formed with the utmost care. Director Tomas Alfredson allows each character to emerge gradually but distinctly into a fully formed human being. Gary Oldman is remarkable. The ensemble cast is uniformly terrific!"

The key to Gary Oldman’s performance in this beautifully constructed thriller is that he’s not trying to top anyone, not even himself. Oldman is remarkable here for how little he does, for how little he has to do. Oldman’s dignity, borne of experience, is less something you can see than something you can feel. He wears his character’s regrets lightly, like a bespoke jacket, a state of being made just for him. It’s a remarkable performance. The picture overall is notable less for its complex plot than for the emotional context of each of its nested backstories-within-backstories. Director Tomas Alfredson allows each character to emerge gradually but distinctly, as if out of fog, into a fully formed human being with certain motivations and heartbreaks. The uniformly terrific ensemble cast includes Colin Firth, Tobey Jones, Ciarán Hinds, John Hurt, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy. Especially noteworthy is Mark Strong, as the agent who’s perhaps the most harshly tested of all; he plays the character’s desolation and determination as two sides of the same coin. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy feels both old-fashioned and modern at once. And its lovely, understated score (by Alberto Iglesias), with its whispering strings and muted trumpets, perfectly suits the movie’s palette of soft mauves and grays. This is a movie rendered in the colors of smoke, though its contours are solid and shapely, formed with the utmost care.

TTSS Time Out
Dave Calhoun
"Thrilling! A superb cast, script and direction. Tom Hardy is brilliant. The script by Peter Straughan and Bridget O'Connor is a marvel. Tomas Alfredson blows a fresh air of continental style. There is a dash of Scorsese in the way Alfredson's camera glides through the story."
4 stars! The catalyst for Smiley’s operation is new information revealed by renegade agent Ricki Tarr, played by a brilliantly wily and rakish Tom Hardy. The only woman briefly to steal the show is Kathy Burke. Swedish director Tomas Alfredson blows a fresh air of continental style into le Carré’s story without harming the 1970s British period feel of his source material. There’s a touch of ‘The Ipcress File’ to his Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in the way he industrialises the Circus – the service’s Cambridge Circus HQ – by turning interior Portacabin-like structures into soundproof meeting rooms. He does the same by moving Smiley’s Paddington base to what looks like a converted warehouse near Liverpool Street. It all feels a touch more urban. There’s also a dash of Scorsese in the way Alfredson’s camera glides through the story and in some of the striking image and music matches that he chooses, such as cutting a thrilling, concise final montage to Charles Trenet’s ‘La Mer’, sung by Julio Iglesias. Oldman’s Smiley – more haggard, sinister and silent than Guinness but with enough of a hint of the great man’s voice to honour his memory – evens pops a Trebor mint into his mouth in the run-up to the film’s big reveal. The new script by Peter Straughan and his late wife Bridget O’Connor is a marvel of wise and respectful adaptation. This film’s superb cast, script and direction threaten to make that journey equally as thrilling as le Carré’s book.
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