Our Kind of Traitor
Director: Susanna White
Writer: Hossein Amini
Based on: John le Carré‘s novel
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgård, Naomie Harris, Damian Lewis, Grigoriy Dobrygin, Pawel Szajda, Alicia von Rittberg, Mark Gatiss, Jeremy Northam
Seen on: 19.7.2016
Perry (Ewan McGregor) and Gail (Naomie Harris) are on holidays together in an attempt to get their relationship back on the right track. But things are tense. That’s when they meet Dima (Stellan Skarsgård), a rich, jovial Russian. He invites them for drinks and Perry accepts. Dima takes a liking to him and invites him to a party. It is there that he reveals that he works for the Russian mob and that he needs Perry’s help to deliver data to the UK – data that would secure Dima and his family refuge from the repercussions of the mob. Perry agrees to help, but when he hands over the data to agent Hector (Damian Lewis), the role he and Gail both have to play in the affair is unexpectedly far from over.
Our Kind of Traitor was a decent thriller that ends in cliché country. But for a while there, it is a good ride.
Our Kind of Traitor tries to establish at least its lead characters, but ultimately fails pretty much. Perry and Gail come out of a stock character box that is mostly insulting for Gail while establishing Perry as a HERO whose few faults we are expected to forgive and forget immediately and easily. Damian Lewis fares a little better with his Hector who is at least an interesting mix between competent and idiotic, but when they try to show his private side, his characterization goes belly up real quick, too. The only one who really lucks out in that department is Dima, especially with Stellan Skarsgård’s dynamic performance. He is colorful, friendly and threatening and one can imagine that this is exactly how somebody working for the Russian mob would be. He never loses his edge of ruthlessness.
So, in the beginning I was willing to go along with the stock characters to see if maybe Dima would shake things up a bit and reveal that there is a bit more to them. But my hopes were misplaced. Instead, as the story goes on, plot holes start piling up and decisions become inexplicably stupid on all fronts. And with that, the movie was bound to fail as well.
The closer the ending came, the stronger the clichés and tropes became. Characters seemed to do things only because that’s what the tropes expected of them. [SPOILERS] It all culminates in the most louldy announced helicopter explosion that had me rolling my eyes. Although that at least didn’t raise as many questions as the meeting between Hector and Perry in the end that was supposed to tie up open ends, but instead had me trying – and failing – to picture the circumstances where Hector would give Perry his hime address. [/SPOILERS]
Still for a long time Our Kind of Traitor worked as a decent thriller, at least if you don’t think too hard about it. The good performances (where the weak script allowed it at least) do tide you over for a while. But in the end the entire film is pretty forgettable.