Writer: Hossein Amini (Screenplay) John le Carre (Novel)
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgard, Damian Lewis, Naomie Harris, Jeremy Northam, Khalid Abdalla, Mark Gatiss
Plot: A couple finds themselves lured into a Russian oligarch’s plans to defect, and are soon positioned between the Russian Mafia and the British Secret Service, neither of whom they can trust.
Tagline – Who can you trust with the truth?
Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Basic Crime Thriller
Story: Our Kind of Traitor starts when British couple Perry (McGregor) and Gail (Harris) holidaying in Morocco meet Russian Mafia member Dima (Skarsgard) and the two men bond. Dima talks Perry into taking information back to MI6, which opens the door for the secret service agent Hector (Lewis) trying to investigate the information.
Returning with the information, Perry and Gail gets caught up in the middle of both sides even though they want to get on with their own lives, soon it is their lives that are in danger, who will come out on top.
Thoughts on Our Kind of Traitor
Characters – Perry is a university professor, he is trying to make amends with his wife on a romantic holiday, he reluctantly gets involved in the information trade with his good nature being used by both sides. Gail is the lawyer wife of Perry, she has become distant from him while still loving him and does question his decision to help Dima. Dima is the Russian mafia handling the accounts, but he wants out to help his own children become safe, he uses his connection with Perry to get MI6 involved in the truth. Hector is the MI6 agent that is willing to work with Dima for the information in exchange for the family, he does have his own grudge with the man they are trying to take down too.
Performances – The performances through the film show us just what Le Carre does with his characters, he gives them good moments, without making them stand out. McGregor is good, but you feel a younger up and comer would have been perfect here, Harris is good and doesn’t put a foot wrong, while Skarsgard enjoys his role, shady but loyal. Damian Lewis brings back his true English role which at times does feel weird knowing how often he has been an American character recently.
Story – The story comes from a John Le Carre novel, so instantly we know we are going to get a thriller that keeps us guessing on what everyone’s motivation will be. The idea that a normal couple get mixed up in the middle of an international information exchange is different and does work for the film because it helps us stay on edge thinking and wondering if they do have a bigger involvement. The story does feel like that one moment to make it great is missing, as everything does end up feeling just normal and good only.
Crime – The crime side of the film follows a criminal looking for a safe way out of the life for his family in exchange for bringing down the mafia’s dealings in London.
Settings – The film splits the settings between London, for the deals, Morocco for the exchanges and the final location for the next chapter of the lives, they work because they show how this world would operate.
Final Thoughts – This is a solid thriller even if it lacks that final factor to make it one of the best ones, it does the by the book material well, but never develops the characters enough to understand the situation they put themselves in.
Overall: Simple thriller.