Movies: Our Kind of Traitor Review (or ‘Maybe It’s Based On A Book That’s Not Very Good’)

After the recent success of The Night Manager on BBC1, John le Carré’s work is currently in vogue.

And now another one of his books – Our Kind of Traitor – has made its way to the big screen.

Movies – Our Kind of Traitor Review: What’s It About?

While on holiday in Morocco, a British University lecturer is befriended by a high level Russian mafia type who wants to give up some mob secrets in exchange for asylum for him and his family. But will the British kindoftraitorSecret service take them seriously?

Movies – Our Kind of Traitor Review: Who’s In It?

The movie stars good actors like Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgård, Damian Lewis and Naomie Harris. It also has Mark Gatiss in it. (Burn).

Movies – Our Kind of Traitor Review: How Highly Is It Rated?

It’s been getting mixed reviews. While imdb only gives it 6.4/10 from a mere 550 votes (which tells its own story) and Empire magazine describe it as ‘bland’, Rotten Tomatoes awards it an approval rating of 82%.

But what did I think?

Movies – Our Kind of Traitor Review: Thoughts

The start of Our Kind of Traitor evoked memories of one of my absolute all-time favourite movies, The Man Who Knew Too Much. Indeed, it would not surprise me if that is where le Carré got his inspiration from.

But while the Hitchcock classic built up and up to a dramatic and exciting conclusion, Our Kind of Traitor fizzled out.

The problem was that beyond the initial hook – that an innocent bystander gets caught up in the murky world of international espionage – McGregor’s character was incidental to the plot, while the process of bringing Skarsgård and his family to the UK wasn’t exactly full of drama.

And maybe it’s because it’s difficult to truncate one of le Carré’s books into a two-hour movie – after all, The Night Manager took up six hours of screen time – but certain elements of the plot such as the stuff with Skarsgård’s daughter, and the bit that happened at the end (no spoilers) were not explained in great enough detail.

Or it could just be that this is a movie based on a book that isn’t very good.

Overall, I’d be more inclined to side with Empire; this was quite bland. It was decent enough, but considering some of le Carré’s other works, I did expect better.


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