"The film was never going to match the TV series, but was not bad in its own terms, as a film. A few flaws though - Casting was poor for Alleline, and Esterhaze (Bernard Hepton as Esaterhaze in TV series almost as difficult an act to follow as Guinness as Siley) and Mark Strong not able to balance toughness with tenderness essential to the Jim Prideaux character. Why was Guillam gay? (is there some sort of quota system in operation?) The ‘burning’ of Estahaze sequence is completely wrong and out of keeping with the tenor of the source material as is the last view if the relationship between Prideaux and schoolboy Bill Roache. In the book (and TV series) there is a redemption for Prideaux in this relationship. It is sour in the film. This is not a mere detail as this redemption is the linchpin of the whole book. The settings and filming were good, but the Circus should have been more claustrophobic. Hurt, brilliant as Control. Oldman as Smiley, very brave, but no Alec Guiness (even LeCarre saw Guinness as Smiley when writing ‘Smiley’s People’ later).
All in all a good landing but in the wrong airport"