Our Kind of Traitor [2016]

Our Kind of Traitor is a standard-issue spy thriller featuring a sprawling story full of twists and an excellent cast. It’s based on John le Carré’s 2010 novel of the same name. This is not the first adaptation of his spy novels. We’ve already had the pleasure of watching The Russia House, The Tailor of Panama, and his biggest hit yet, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. We will be following an ordinary couple who find themselves embroiled in a very dangerous international operation involving the Russian mafia, spies, and other actors. The story itself rings true and this adds the much-needed sense of authenticity to the movie. 

The cast led by charismatic Stellan Skarsgård and Ewan McGregor did a terrific job. I especially liked McGregor’s subdued performance. His character enables you to immerse yourself in this exciting story. And immediately the moral dilemmas start popping up. Would you do the same thing? Would you be willing to risk your life for your country? These are the questions you will be asking yourself as the plot thickens. And the story itself resembles the real-life events which happened during the Cold War and was adapted into the movie The Courier

Our Kind of Traitor also enables the viewer to peer into the secret world of shady rich people. And if those shady rich people happen to be working with the Russian mafia, everything becomes even more insane. We will also be traveling not only to Russia but also to Morocco, Finland, the UK, France, and many other exotic locations. And the way these scenes were filmed only emphasized their luxurious nature. Taking full advantage of the source material, the script was also tight without much fluff.

Perry MacKendrick and his wife Gail were having an ordinary holiday in Morocco when Perry met Dima, a wealthy Russian businessman. The two of them hit it off immediately and before he knew it, Perry, who works as a professor at a university in the UK, was snorting cocaine at an exclusive party. However, Dima will soon ask him to do something. Something very dangerous but at the same time, also very exciting. A matter of life and death that’s going to also involve his wife, Gail. Reluctantly, Perry agrees to the deal and begins what’s going to soon become a very perilous journey. A journey that won’t see some of the people he knows stay alive ’till the end.

Quite forgettable, Our Kind of Traitor is elevated by Stellan Skarsgård’s memorable performance. But then again, all of his performances are memorable. Here, Stellan exudes this larger-than-life Russian oligarch vibes with authority. And since there wasn’t much action, the movie sorely needed that. The tension was relatively there but something else was missing. So, if you’re looking for something not too engaging but still worth a watch, this mediocre spy thriller will do the job.

And if you’re looking for similar movies, I suggest you check out A Most Wanted Man. It’s also based on John le Carre’s novel. Finally, since the story features the Russian mafia, I can’t help recommending David Cronenberg’s masterpiece Eastern Promises.

Director: Susanna White

Writers: John le Carré, Hossein Amini

Cast: Stellan Skarsgård, Ewan McGregor, Naomie Harris, Dolya Gavanski, Damian Lewis, Velibor Topic

Fun Facts: Ralph Fiennes was originally cast as Dima but decided not to do the movie at the last minute and he was replaced with Stellan Skarsgård.


IMDb Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1995390/

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