Our Kind of Traitor (2016)


From the thrilling mind of John le Carre, this film adaptation takes his novel and transfers it to the big screen with enough enjoyable thrills, questions and definite stellar performances. It may not be 100% gripping or perfect but it’s well made.

Whilst dealing with their relationship issues on a holiday in Morocco, Perry (Ewan McGregor) and Gail (Naomie Harris) have a chance meeting with Dima (Stellan Skarsgard). He’s a Russian figure in the Mafia but fears his life with an imminent money transfer on the horizon that could endanger him and his family. Dima entrusts Perry with some information to hand to MI6 man Hector (Damian Lewis).

First of all, I have to comment on the look of the film, the way it’s shot and also directed does work really well. There’s a cold blue tone to the film and frequent mirrored fractures of faces creates that dodgy spy world. As if the blur of trust is leaking out to the way the movie is filmed. It’s a beautiful film at times, from the magical white of the opening scene to the way London even looks sleek and captivating.

Based on a book, this film by Susanna White captures the le Carre spy genre very well. That mystery of government and human interaction, who to trust, death and danger all come together in a solid blend to make this a suspenseful watch on the most part. I must admit that at one point; end of second act and going into the third act as they venture to a safe house, the movie begins lagging and the tension that had come before disappears like a ghost. Also, for a story of this bubbling intensity it feels like the movie could have dealt with the delicate nature of involving an every-man in something so big in a better, perhaps more convincing way.

Marcelo Zarvos’ score is a big highlight though and fits the thriller market very very well. The Brazilian composer builds a rostra of music that compliments the tension of the narrative, it never sinks unheard but it never overshadows either. It’s a perfect pitch that tries immersing us into this glossy feature. The plot may not always be outstanding, it has a somewhat generic feel but with the acting, music and cinematography you can’t help but mostly get on board with the entire product.

Ewan McGregor plays the average Joe not called Joe with suitable frowns, worried looks and interchanging cardigans. He is the character we’re meant to get into the film with because he’s like us, an every day normal guy thrown into turmoil, threat and terrific parties and on the whole he acts well. Stellan Skarsgard is the selling point, he brings buckets of charisma to the role and exudes a masculine dominance over proceedings. Damian Lewis is an actor I love watching, there’s something about the careful yet carefree way he delivers lines that makes his characters, this film included, come alive. Naomie Harris does more of worth than the trailer makes you think and helps the narrative with another side of the human eye looking over the world of gangs and crime.

Our Kind of Traitor isn’t an out and out thriller to remember but it certainly looks good and is backed by superb acting and fine tension.



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