Thanks to Studio Canal we had the chance to see Our Kind of Traitor before its Australian cinematic release. This is our review of the film, but – as usual – no matter what we say, we recommend that you still go to your local cinema and see the film because there is no better critic than yourself!
Susanna White’s Our Kind of Traitor is a film based on the novel by John le Carre that follows an ordinary, well-educated British couple, Perry (Ewan McGregor) a Poetry Professor and Gail (Naomie Harris) a Barrister, on their holiday in Marrakesh. The two are there to rekindle their relationship, yet on the journey they find themselves immersed in the life of a high ranking Russian mobster, Dima (Stellan Skarsgard), who has tactfully imposed himself upon their lives in order to coerce them into transporting classified information to the British Secret Service, in the hope the Secret Service offer his family protection in the UK.
This mission throws Perry and Gail into a dangerous world of espionage and dirty politics, which are made more life threatening with the involvement of the British Secret Serviceman, Hector (Damian Lewis), whose primary motive to help them is his personal vendetta against one of the corrupt politicians ousted in Dima’s “classified information” that links high profile British politicians and socialites to the Russian Mafia.
Our Kind of Traitor is a well-made espionage thriller that unfortunately lacks bite. With little depth, this stellar cast lineup seems to be playing average, borderline one-dimensional characters. On the one hand we have Gail, a super smart, potentially complex female, whose intelligence is underused. She simply appears to be going along for the ride, when she could be a much stronger, more dominant protagonist. Whilst Perry, is the everyday man who happens upon some good old-fashioned international espionage, that helps bring out the compassionate hero within, and in turn salvages his marriage. Sound appealing? Well it’s not! Not only is his character far from believable or endearing, it’s just hard to relate to a poetry professor. Who cares!
There could be so much potential for this movie, but all hope is diminished early on when the storyline seems to be effortlessly moving along, which just should not be the case for a spy thriller. There is no mystery, no vested interest in the lives that are on the line, nor is there a sense of outrage at the political upheaval. The whole story seems to be flat and going in one direction. It might be best to give this a miss and just watch a Hitchcock movie instead.
Our Kind of Traitor – In Cinemas 14th July