I think "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" has been the main player in many ways heading into this fall, but most of the buzz seemed to gravitate around Gary Oldman's "lead performance" and what his Oscar chances were. The first reviews for Tomas Alfredson's film do enough to change the field of our first speculations. Word is that this is less an Oldman vehicle than an ensemble piece, which is very much what I gathered from the trailer. It does seem like something of a shame, as this was Oldman's biggest Oscar opportunity in recent memory. The man is far overdue. As for the film itself, there are generally positive ramblings going on. I can see it being a Best Picture play for sure.
Guy Lodge (In Contention; ***1/2 out of 4): "Rarely has a perversely beautiful lack of vitality been so integral to a film’s success: for all the accomplished work done on the storytelling front, principal memories of "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" may well linger on Maria Djurkovic’s splendidly down-at-heel production design, a veritable rabbit-warren of graying wood, petrified office furniture and gloriously tasteless bursts of contemporary modernism, like the queasily orange graphic pattern that papers the Circus’s main conference room. Everyone on set and off seems to have taken their cue from these worn-in but hardly comforting surroundings — Alberto Iglesias’s mournfully brass-heavy score is another asset."
David Gritten (The Telegraph; ***** out of 5): "This is a British and European success story. It comes from Working Title, our leading production company and is financed not by Hollywood but Europe’s StudioCanal. Its key behind-the-camera talents (including Alfredson and Alberto Iglesias, composer of the cool, sometimes jazzy score, with its hints of melancholy and menace) are all from this continent. The best compliment to pay "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" is to affirm that it does what every great film can do: it makes your heart pound, gets your pulses racing and sends your brain cells into overdrive."
Xan Brooks (The Guardian; **** out of 5): "Oldman gives a deliciously delicate, shaded performance, flitting in and out of the wings like some darting grey lizard. We have the sense that Smiley has seen too much and done too much, and that a lifetime's experience has bled him of colour. His eyes are tired, his collar too tight, his necktie a noose. Yet still he keeps coming, quietly infiltrating a first-rate supporting cast that includes Mark Strong, Kathy Burke and Colin Firth. Away in Istanbul, Tom Hardy raises the roof as Ricki Tarr, the tale's bullish rogue element, while Benedict Cumberbatch is mesmerising as the well-groomed gentleman conspirator coming slowly apart at the seams."