Our Kind of Traitor

Adapted from John le Carré’s 2010 novel of the same name, Our Kind of Traitor is an above-average spy thriller complete with an all-star cast. The film is the tenth film adaptation of le Carré, the famed contemporary British novelist known for espionage fiction following his early career in British intelligence. Like some of his other works, the film involves a normal law-abiding citizen, in this case an English professor named Perry played by Ewan McGregor, who finds himself entangled in an intricate web of international intrigue. While on vacation with his wife played by Naomie Harris in Marrakech, Morocco, Perry randomly meets a Russian oligarch named Dima who helps launder money for the Russian Mafia. Portrayed by Stellan Skarsgård, Dima takes Perry on a whirlwind of stereotypically extravagant Russian parties, all for what we soon learn to be ulterior motives. Fearing for the safety of his family, the slick Dima covertly passes to the in-over-his-head Perry a thumb drive connecting names with secret bank accounts. He wants the information to reach MI6 so that he can negotiate asylum for him and his family. Eventually, Damian Lewis’s character is brought in as the MI6 handler who is eager for more proof of the elaborate Russian money-laundering scheme that may also implicate high-ranking British officers. Perry and his wife become stuck between their allegiance to the British government and Dima’s family’s safety. Overall, I found the film to be an interesting take on a spy thriller but ultimately left me wanting more. Although the acting performances were a strong suit, the film is not up to the level of the other terrific le Carré’s adaptations, particularly The Constant Gardener, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and the recent BBC miniseries The Night Manager.

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