Like Jonathan Pine before them, our protagonists Perry (Ewan McGregor) and Gail (Naomie Harris) are unsuspecting civilians thrown into a world of international espionage. But where Pine had his military background to draw on, these two, a poetry professor and a lawyer respectively, have no such luck.
At the start of the film, the couple are about to settle down to dinner on holiday in Marrakech when Gail excuses herself to take a phone call. Enter Dima (Stellan Skarsgård), a bottle-popping high-roller who offers a slightly dejected Perry a drink. That’s when things start to go awry. Long story short: Dima’s a Russian Mafioso, conspired against by his own gang, and unless Perry and Gail can help him, both he and his family will be killed.
Upon returning to the UK, the couple are picked up by Hector (Damian Lewis), an MI6 handler who leads them to a heart of an international conspiracy. He’s exactly the kind of stiff-upper-lipped operator you’d expect to encounter in a story like this, and predictability is a big stumbling block elsewhere too. Frankly, this is boilerplate stuff: a straightforward spy thriller, executed in straightforward fashion.
There are seeds of a more interesting film here, but they never germinate. You sense at times that Perry is living out some kind of terrible fantasy, relishing the chaos which has taken over his life. But too often the film attempts to drag him in the direction of banality, ignoring the ease with which he takes to his new role. As for Gail, Naomie Harris is hampered by a seriously under-written part. Initially resistant to involvement with Dima, her reservations and moral equivocations gradually dissipate as the script loses track of her character.
In short, there’s nothing that makes Our Kind of Traitor memorable. This is by no means a bad film, but it is sorely lacking in character.
|What||Our Kind of Traitor film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
13 May 16 – 30 Jun 16, Event times vary
|Price||£determined by cinema|