Friday, 13 May 2016

"Our Kind of Traitor" (Guardian 13/05/16)

Our Kind of Traitor ***
Dir: Susanna White. With: Ewan McGregor, Damian Lewis, Naomie Harris, Stellan Skarsgard. 107 mins. Cert: 15

The insecurity of the modern world has brought John le Carré back out of the shadows. Following Tinker Tailor redux, A Most Wanted Man and the crackerjack hokum of TV’s The Night Manager, this mid-list potboiler finds the author trading shamelessly on Western suspicions about Mother Russia, tossing troubled couple Naomie Harris and Ewan McGregor into the geopolitical cut-and-thrust after they befriend vodka-gulping heavy Stellan Skarsgård during a make-or-break Moroccan getaway. Director Susanna White favours a generic spy-movie look: those chilly blue filters surely need resting now. Yet she works smartly with her actors: while Skarsgård wolfs down great handfuls of scenery, McGregor effectuates a thoughtful transformation from ineffectual tourist to man in the field. Not even the gifted adaptor Hossein Amini (The Two Faces of January) can convince us it’s anything more than second-string le Carré – meat and potatoes, where others have brought us caviar – but we’re still reeled in, patiently and capably.

Our Kind of Traitor is now playing in cinemas nationwide. 

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