Our Kind of Traitor

"Excellent"

Our Kind of Traitor Review


John le Carre's novel is adapted with plenty of inventive style into a remarkably personal thriller, packed with thrills that find suspense in the characters and their predicament rather than pushy movie cliches. It's so sleek and involving that it's easy to ignore the nagging plot holes. We're too busy imagining what we might do in the same situations.

It opens in Marrakech, where poetry professor Perry (Ewan McGregor) and his lawyer wife Gail (Naomie Harris) have gone in an attempt to save their troubled marriage. One evening in a bar, Perry meets the boisterous Dima (Stellan Skarsgard), a Russian who openly admits that he launders money for the mafia. And he asks for Perry's help in delivering information to British intelligence in exchange for his family's safety. Back in London, Perry meets MI6 agent Hector (Damian Lewis), who sees this data as vital to bring down corrupt British politicians. But he has to go rogue to continue on the case, drafting Perry and Gail in to help. Soon they're travelling to France and Switzerland in a dangerous game that puts them in the crosshairs of both a Russian mafia boss (Grigoriy Dobrigyn) and a shifty British MP (Jeremy Northam).

The key point here is that Perry and Gail get involved because they are trying to help Dima's family. This makes everything that happens unusually down-to-earth, with a plot that hinges on the safety of a wife and children rather than the fate of the world. Actually, it's the state of the world that's the villain here, as corrupt Western politicians accept huge money to sidestep the rule of law. Screenwriter Hossein Amini is terrific at keeping the film's focus on the people rather than the plot machinery. And director Susanna White fills the screen with classy touches that are gorgeously shot and edited. The action sequences are unusually clever, avoiding cliches for something more deeply involving (a big shootout is particularly imaginative).

This approach makes the suspense gurgle much more powerfully, and it also gives the actors plenty to play with. McGregor and Harris are superb at the centre as a couple quietly working out their own issues while getting involved in something far beyond their normal experience. The scene-stealers are Skarsgard and Lewis, both as larger-than-life figures who are funny and scary at the same time. This is a rare thriller that avoids all of the usual cheap tricks to tell its story with proper intensity and meaning. So if the plot's details feel a little flimsy, we don't mind at all.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for Our Kind Of Traitor:



Our Kind of Traitor

Facts and Figures

Genre: Thriller

Run time: 107 mins

In Theaters: Friday 13th May 2016

Production compaines: Potboiler Productions Ltd., The Ink Factory, ARRI Media

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Susanna White

Producer: Simon Cornwell, Stephen Cornwell, Gail Egan

Starring: as Perry Makepeace, as Dima, as Gail Perkins, as Natasha, as Hector, Pawel Szajda as Pasha, Mark Stanley as Ollie, Alec Utgoff as Niki, as Emilio Del Oro, as Luke, Radivoje Bukvić as Misha, Christian Brassington as Secretary to the Cabinet, as Andrei, Dolya Gavanski as Olga

Contactmusic

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