Director: Susanna White
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgård, Damian Lewis, Naomie Harris
Straight from the get-go, the trailer for ‘Our Kind Of Traitor’ caught my attention. For starters, the cast alone – which includes Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgård, Naomie Harris, Damian Lewis and Mark Gatiss – were enough to convince me to watch the film, no matter what the storyline happened to be. The trailer itself gave off a really strong impression, outlining the plot without actually giving much else away and already giving a strong sense of tension between the characters.
Perry (Ewan McGregor) and Gail (Naomie Harris) get more than they bargained for on their much-needed holiday to Marrakech. Perry befriends an ever-so-charming and friendly Russian, Dima (Stellan Skarsgård), and after a few drinks, receives an invitation to Dima’s daughters “small” birthday party. The couple arrive at Dima’s mansion, welcomed by what probably could be classified as a small carnival, and this is where Perry discovers the real reason for his invitation. Dima confesses to Perry that he is a money launderer in the Russian mafia and is seeking asylum in Britain as he fears for the well-being of his wife and children. Dima hands over a USB stick to Perry to take back to MI6, in the hope that the classified information it contains could be used in exchange for protection for his family. After arriving back in England, it immediately becomes apparent to Perry and Gail that their involvement in this exchange would not end there, and the couple find themselves tangled in webs of lies and deceit as they try to figure out who they can really trust.
Following Dima’s request to Perry, the story becomes fast-paced, edge of your seat viewing which is made even more tense with a fitting musical score playing in the background throughout. Before this significant scene, the story does feel sluggish and slow as it works up towards this plot-changing meeting, but it does give us an insight into Perry and Gail’s relationship, which is significant knowledge to have later in the film. Perry’s decisions take him to various locations across the globe, from the streets of Morocco to the snowy forests on the French Alps and we are shown the true beauty of these locations during the film, which really gives you a feel of each location the characters find themselves in. The script itself is pretty solid, unfortunately I haven’t read John le Carré’s novel on which this film is based, so I can’t comment on how well it has been adapted, but the dialogue between the characters is superb, especially during the second half of the film.
I can’t fault the cast on their performances throughout the film. Skarsgård in particular nailed being a big-shot Russian mobster, whether he was being a charismatic and cocky asshole, or a discomposed, terrified family man. The whole ensemble were a credit to the film, just as I had hoped from the minute I saw the line-up. They were magnificently directed by Susanna White, and they made every scene as good as the last, no matter which characters were interacting on screen.
I’d definitely recommend this film to anyone who enjoys a good old spy thriller film, with ‘Our Kind Of Traitor’ being more of a pause-for-thought, human interaction type spy film, and less of a guns-blazing, big explosions type spy film. I feel it’s definitely one of 2016’s most underrated films and definitely deserves 108 minutes of your time.