‘Our Kind of Traitor’ is Sophisticated Tale of Intrigue

Hear “Take Two Movie Reviews” every Saturday and Sunday at  8:45 and 11:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m., on WHAV.

Hear “Take Two Movie Reviews” every Saturday and Sunday at 8:45 and 11:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m., on WHAV.

It’s rumored that Stanley Kubrick once told John LeCarre that he couldn’t do justice to LeCarre’s novels in two-hour films because of their detail and complexity of plot and character. That hasn’t stopped many from trying, however, sometimes with success.

Fortunately, such is the case with the latest, “Our Kind of Traitor,” a sophisticated tale of intrigue in which an English couple vacationing in Morocco.

Perry and Gail –played by Ewan McGregor and Naomie Harris—get caught up in the machinations of an affable but charismatic Russian mafia figure looking to save his family as he’s being muscled out. Perry is befriended by the mobster, Dima –Stellan Skaarsgard—and asked to deliver a thumb-drive to British authorities with information he believes will buy his family’s asylum. While Perry’s contact and eventual handler from MI-6, played by Damian Lewis, is ready to play ball, there’s hesitancy from his superiors at the political level. In case you forget by this point that you’re watching a LeCarre story, this, of course, is where things get interesting: While some bullets fly, and at least one important thing blows up, the story goes more cerebral and moves into the minutiae of the nexus of international high finance and top-flight organized crime. The film has the character of a classic mob movie, the feel of an international espionage thriller, and a message about global capitalism.

Veteran British TV director Susanna White gets a superior performance from Skaarsgard, who really owns his part.

McGregor seems out of place, but this may be intentional. Filmed from Switzerland to North Africa, “Our Kind of Traitor” has an elegant look to it which distracts from its sometimes near brushes with cliché. It’s not “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold,” but it’s pretty good.

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