Our Kind of Traitor is a solid spy thriller that’ll entertain people, but it’s ultimately not going to leave much of an impression.
Based on the book of the same name, Our Kind of Traitor tells the story of a British couple, Perry (Ewan McGregor) and Gail (Naomie Harris), who get caught up in the schemes of Dima (Stellan Skarsgård), a Russian Mafia money launderer, while on holiday in Marrakech.
This, unfortunately, leads the pair into the murky world of spying when an MI6 operative, Hector (Damian Lewis), manipulates them into helping his own personal agenda.
What I like about Our Kind of Traitor is that it isn’t a typical action film.
It never drifts into crazy or stupid territory, instead keeping its feet on the ground and never stretching my willing suspension of disbelief to breaking point.
That said, it felt like a solid enough movie and is basically a pretty well constructed spy thriller, with more than enough to keep me entertained during its 107 minute run.
The cast all impress, especially Ewan McGregor, who manages to balance being an everyman caught up in a situation out of his control, and Stellan Skarsgard as the menacing but fatherly Russian mobster, who you can’t help but sympathise with as he desperately tries to save his family.
The stand out, however, has to be Damian Lewis’s Hector, who manages to be the archetypal Cold War spy, despite the film being set in the modern day, and succeeds in giving the film a Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy vibe.
Cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle manages to have a lot of fun with his shots, hiding cameras in places where spies would, which leads to scenes being filmed in peculiar and, more importantly, interesting ways.
Unfortunately, the film is quite plodding at times, and there are one or two scenes that deserved to be in the editor’s recycling bin rather than on the big screen, all of which leads to the film feeling as though it’s contractually obligated to be over 90 minutes long.
Also, at times, it’s pretty predictable, especially during the third act where it dips its toes into the usual spy genre clichés.
All in all, Our Kind of Traitor‘s biggest cinematic sin is being quite forgettable, which isn’t the worst thing a film can be…
More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism.
Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV.
He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.