Our Kind of Traitor

(2016)

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Title:
Our Kind of Traitor
Release Date:
5th May 2016
Runtime:
108 min
MPAA Rating:
R
Genres:
Directors:
Susanna White
Writers:
Hossein Amini, John le Carre
Languages:
English, Russian, French
Stream Quality:
1080p / 720p / 480p

Storyline

When Peter and his girlfriend, Gail, cross paths with the charismatic Dima on their Moroccan holiday, the forceful Russian is quick to challenge Peter to a friendly game of tennis. But this innocuous contest is not all it seems - Dima is a long-time servant of the Russian mafia, whose new boss, 'The Prince', wants him and his family dead. His only hope is to ask the unsuspecting Peter to broker him sanctuary with the British intelligence services, in return for exposing a vein of corruption that runs right to the heart of the City of London. Soon they find themselves on a tortuous journey through Paris to a safe house in the Swiss Alps and, with the might of the Russian mafia closing in, begin to realise this particular match has the highest stakes of all...

Ratings

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 70%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 58%
IMDb Rating 6.4

Casts

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by dvc5159 15th July, 2016

Citizens on Patrol

On any other day, a British espionage thriller would make for a good change of pace from the summer blockbuster season. Based off a John le Carre novel, and it makes it even more intriguing, seeing that the master of spy fiction that brought us "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" and "The Spy that Came In from the Cold" is still up and sprightly, churning out novel after novel like it was nothing. I guess the secret to longevity is indeed to keep on working on your passion. Now comes another film adaptation of his work – this time with actors of caliber (Ewan McGregor and Stellan Skarsgard, among others) and double the predictability. I have not read Le Carre's original source material, but my guess is it will be far more intriguing than what was presented here. The film, telling the tale of how two ordinary British citizens (McGregor and Naomie Harris) naively help out a turncoat Russian mob enforcer (Skarsgard) and getting in the crosshairs of a ruthless MI6 agent (Damien Lewis) in the process, ticks the right boxes, and nothing more. It becomes an engrossing watch throughout, where characters scheme and plot while other innocents are naively caught in the crossfire. Everything is fine and dandy – technically well-made and paced, the performances are spot-on and the story is a good tried-and-tested formula, though post-Brexit it seems unfortunately dated already, and the dialogue relies too much on the four-letter word, a jarring contrast a from Le Carre's usual classiness. The key word here is 'perfunctory'. It functions, and nothing more. Might be good with a cup of hot afternoon tea.

Reviewed by hillrosemary 9th July, 2016

Better than the book for me

I usually love John Le Carre's books, but I didn't think much of Our Kind of Traitor at all. In fact it left me with almost no memory of the story except a vague outline, which was very handy when it came to watching the film. I enjoyed the screen version much more. The adaptation is good, the action was paced far better than the novel, and the acting was excellent. Stellan Skarsgaad was wonderful as Dima - he managed, I thought, to make the character sympathetic without ever losing his menace. Damian Lewis was also very good. I don't especially care for Ewan MacGregor, but I thought he did well in this. I had last seen Khalid Abdalla, who played Luke, in the role of an Islamic terrorist in 'Spooks', and I think Susanne White made an excellent choice of having him play an MI-6 officer; while I know nothing about who staffs what in Vauxhall Cross, I would imagine it's much more multi-ethnic than it used to be. Lastly, the little cameo by John Le Carre himself was a nice touch. As to how close to the reality the story line is ... I suspect much more so than many people might like to think!

Reviewed by John McCarty 2nd July, 2016

solid thriller

I enjoy John Le Carre, but none of the adaptations of his books have really blown me away. I am happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. I came into this movie without many expectations, as I have not read the book and I hadn't heard anything about the movie. Ewan McGregor and Stellan Skarsgard star as a British professor and a Russian mobster respectively, and both give great performances, especially Skarsgard, who plays a man who you know is a bad person, but you can't help but like. Naomie Harris and Damian Lewis also feature, and while both are good in their roles, I felt like Harris, who plays McGregor's wife, wasn't given much to do. I really enjoyed the cinematography, and you could tell that Anthony Dod Mantle worked hard to make sure every shot was interesting even when what was going on in the shot was pretty basic. The story is nothing you haven't seen before, but I found myself really captured by the great acting and interesting dialogue. B+

Reviewed by dellfamily 27th May, 2016

Disappointing but still watchable

As a Le Carre fan, it is fair to say that the film made a reasonable attempt of faithfully representing the book, although there were a few changes to the story. The problem with the film is that the book wasn't that brilliant to start off with and with the exception of Stellan Skarsgard (who played Dima)the other actors did not seem to have much belief in the characters they played. Saying that, it is possible for a film to be an improvement on the book and maybe misplaced deference to the author got in the way of the director and actors attempting to make the story more credible and interesting. Perry was too 'nice' so when he played a 'knight in shining armour' on a couple of occasions, it was slightly confusing. Damian Lewis's performance (who played Hector of MI6) verged on the embarrassing as he portrayed him as a bumbling upper class twit which I am sure is not the character trait of MI6 operatives. Overall, the film was watchable, but disappointing, especially after viewing the 'Night Manager' recently on television.

Reviewed by E23-films 16th May, 2016

★★★ - murky and tense, but slow and unconvincing

John le Carre is possibly one of the most acclaimed mystery thriller writers of the last few decades. He does seem able to write stories and characters with enough ambiguity and vagueness to keep his audience on the edge of their seat. This is certainly the case with Our Kind Of Traitor. I've not read the source material, but Amini's screenplay doesn't have the same punch as other le Carre adaptations. Much of the dialogue is clunky, overly sweary and too expositiony, which doesn't match the grounded and muted visual style and colour palette. Coinciding with the clunky dialogue is some fairly wooden acting, even by the big named cast. McGregor is perhaps a little too subtle, whereas Harris is too far the opposite way, although Lewis and Skarsgard do fit their roles pretty well. Cleverly you never know which characters you can trust or what anyone's motives are, though by the end you're frustratingly still not 100% sure. The main trouble is, along with the script and acting, the movie feels bumpy and uneven - it never quite gels. Mantle's shaky cinematography makes it hard to focus while the slow pace drags the film out and tests your patience a little. But Zarvos's music brings a great, murky and tense atmosphere that will keep you slightly unsettled throughout. A good watch - Susanna White's created a brilliantly ambiguous and tense movie, though a little extra direction on the cast may have made it more convincing and emotional. 3/5