"Put it this way: it’s possible another film may soon emerge to spearhead Britain’s assault on the coming awards season. But after the world premiere here at the Venice Film Festival of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy, it would be a huge surprise. A superb adaptation of John le Carré’s brilliant, intricate Cold War spy novel, the film is a triumph. It’s packed with superb British actors, all at the top of their game, with the lengthy book skilfully condensed into just over two hours of riveting narrative." (David Gritten, The Telegraph, *****)
"The best film, and surely the favourite for the Golden Lion, is Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. A clammy and classy adaptation of John Le Carré's novel, it conjures up a lost world of early 1970s London, a film of sealed rooms, Wimpy bars and shadowy Islington houses. These spies have their meetings in leak-proof, smoke-filled Portakabins encased in a vast bunker they call "the circus". The plot hangs on a "rotten apple", a mole in the MI6 system that needs to be weeded out." (Jason Solomons, The Guardian)
"There’s no doubt Alfredson could have used more running time simply to give a proper airing to all four potential traitors – Tinker (Jones), Tailor (Firth), Soldier (Hinds) and Poor Man (David Dencik) – and thus keep the audience guessing a while longer. Fans of the genre will finger the culprit early and without that added layer of suspicion, the big reveal is left feeling perfunctory, almost blasé. Minus that last cathartic gasp, Tinker Tailor Solder Spy settles for being a very good as opposed to a superb spy thriller." (Matt Mueller, IndieWire).
"John Le Carre reportedly once said, "Seeing your book turned into a movie is like seeing your oxen turned into bouillon cubes." Maybe so, but in the case of helmer Tomas Alfredson's version of "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," the result is best likened to a perfectly seasoned consomme. 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. Finely hammered to appeal to discerning auds and kudo-awarding bodies, "Tinker" should do sterling biz." (Leslie Felperin, Variety)