Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Our Kind of Traitor

An English professor (Ewan McGregor) on romantic holiday with his barrister wife (Naomie Harris) in Marrakesh to reinvigorate his strained marriage is beguiled by an abrupt, charming Russian money launderer (Stellan Skarsgard) and then ask to perform a small, simple favor which will soon reveal global implications, involve them with an overeager MI-6 agent (Damien Lewis), and put the couple in imminent danger. Our Kind of Traitor moves with more alacrity than other John Le Carre adaptations I've grown accustomed to, is dumbed down in parts, and pretty baffling as to why the screenplay keeps Harris and a confused looking McGregor around for so long (there's even an unintentional joke to that effect made by Skarsgaard). Still the film is compelling spyfare, often intense, uncompromising and cynical--a nice contrast to the recent, muted le Carre miniseries The Night Manager. Also, Lewis is effective as the straight arrow and Skarsgard steals the show plaing an intelligent, unsophisticated, and unpredictable ruffian.
*** 1/2 out of ****