Title – Our Kind of Traitor (2016)
Director – Susanna White (Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang)
Cast – Ewan McGregor, Naomie Harris, Stellan Skarsgård, Damian Lewis
Plot – On a European vacation to save their crumbling relationship, Perry (McGregor) and Gail (Harris) find themselves drawn into a potential deadly plan to help save their new acquaintance Dima (Skarsgård) who wants out from his accounting work with the dangerous Russian Mafia.
“I’m afraid you are involved”
Review by Eddie on 16/03/2017
When it comes to John Le Carre film adaptation’s there’s sadly quite a large gulf that has developed between the great: Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy, the middle of the road: The Tailor of Panama and the lacklustre: A Most Wanted Man and while last year with the overrated miniseries The Night Manager, Le Carre has found success, My Kind of Traitor is very much the lacklustre Le Carre, with Susanna White’s thriller failing to get the blood pumping.
The good Le Carre novels and adaptation’s find themselves mastering both suspense and layered plots and they’re both elements amiss from White’s film (and The Two Faces of January director and Drive screenwriter Hossein Amini’s lifeless script) that never feels either believable enough or interesting enough to make use of a recognisable cast that all flounder with subpar material that fails to play to their individual strengths, while White who has made a career behind camera largely as a miniseries specialist, directs Le Carre’s subpar material without an ounce of any real effort that hampers the film even more so.
Centring around the largely chemistry free struggling couple of Ewan McGregor’s Perry and Naomie Harris’s Gail, who in the blink of an eye become friends with Stellan Skarsgård’s Russian Mafia accountant Dima on a European relationship saving holiday, only to find themselves quickly entrenched in a government backed mission to save Dima and his family from the big bad’s his looking to rat out, Our Kind of Traitor fails to make us believe things could transpire as they do and for a film of this ilk to be so uninvolving and tiresome with a lack of any true thrills and spectacle (other than some great scenery and crisp DOP work from the ever impressive Anthony Dod Mantle), no amount of cast saving would’ve helped this film feel like anything more than a glorified BBC event film.
Wasting a cast that could and should be doing much more and bringing to life a Le Carre story that surely ranks amongst some of his most uninspired, Our Kind of Traitor may be of some joy to the authors fervent followers and those that count BBC productions amongst their yearly calendar highlights but for the rest of us there will likely be countless other thrillers both from cinemas and the small screen that are endlessly more memorable and engaging than this instantly forgettable and seen a million times before affair.
1 ½ tennis matches out of 5