Our Kind Of Traitor tells the story of a couple who finds themselves lured into a Russian oligarch’s plans to defect, and are soon positioned between the Russian Mafia and the British Secret Service, neither of whom they can trust.
The original author of the source material, John le Carre, is possible one of the most acclaimed and one of my favourite mystery thriller writers of the last few decades. As an avid reader, as well as someone who loves a good film, I’ve always struggled to really get into mystery-thrillers and they have to be really good to get me hooked. He has this ability to write characters and stories in such a way that will keep the audience on the edge of their seat. A lot of le Carre’s work did that and although I have yet to read the source material for this le Carre adaptation, the film does have this same sense of his novels but in all other aspects, the film fails to deliver and is not the greatest adaptation. The dialogue is often clunky and expository, making us think that Amini Hossein’s writing has progressively gotten worse over the years since his Oscar nomination in 1997 for The Wings of the Dove. Hossein’s script hardly matches the visual style of the film, signifying a communication problem between the writer and director.
Along with some disappointing performances where Ewan McGregor is often too subtle and Naomi Harris the complete opposite, you can’t trust any of the characters or really understand what any of their motives are and still don’t by the end at all. This makes the audience become more frustrated at the lack of answers.
All of this comes down to the fact that the film never really quiet gels as the film often portray complete polar opposites in a variety of ways that can be seen in the opposite performances both Harris and McGregor give, the shaky cinematography that’s hard to focus upon hyping up the tension like a Bourne film but dragged down by the slow pace that frustratingly tests your patience.
There is a reason why this film had a limited release and was quite an unremarkable one at that – although it’s still watchable, it ultimately disappointing and fails to live up to the other plethora of le Carre adaptations that have been transferred from book to screen. It looked promising and could’ve achieved so much more.