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.
Our Kind of Traitor
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...