Cold war bore

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Looking for clues: A British agent (Benedict Cumberbatch) gets in a spot of reading during the tangled mess of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Reviewer rating:

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Reader rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (241 votes)


(128 min) MA

A tangled, sombre, impenetrable mess of a film. 


Quote all you like from the accolades and acclaim this film has received, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a tangled, sombre, impenetrable mess of a film. And it's as dull as five-day old dishwater. Based on the classic, complicated Cold War novel by John le Carre, director Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In) does a terrible job trying to revive the anxiety of Cold War tensions as he fails to pump life into the hunt for a spy inside the British secret service.


A crusty, laconic Gary Oldman is George Smiley, the super-spy at the core of a gaggle of bumbling stiff upper-lippers. It wasn't out of the question that a compacted movie version of the sprawling story could improve upon the superb 1979 mini-series (starring Alec Guinness), but that certainly hasn't happened here.

General release

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