Review: Morality tale ‘Our Kind of Traitor’ fails test
A good piece of life advice: If a Russian mobster offers to befriend you while you’re on vacation in Morocco, think of a polite way to decline.
Perry (Ewan McGregor) doesn’t, which ignites a series of international incidents in the far-fetched “Our Kind of Traitor,” which is based on John le Carré’s 2010 novel.
The movie walks a thin tightrope of a premise that can’t bear the weight of the burdensome elements that weigh it down. The performances are fine, but they’re not enough to rescue this would-be thriller from its own contrivances.
McGregor plays a college professor on vacation with his wife (Naomie Harris) when he makes the acquaintance of Dima (Stellan Skarsgård) while dining at an expensive restaurant. Dima is a sleazy, oily Russian gangster, but Perry is intoxicated by his personality, and they end up hanging out together all night. Good times.
Except Dima has more on his mind than just friendship. He passes Perry a flash drive and asks him to bring it back with him to the UK. Red flag! Perry is stopped at customs while returning home and is interrogated by an agent named Hector (“Homeland’s” Damian Lewis). Perry ends up with his fate anchored to Dima in ways that simply don’t seem realistic.
Perry is a man of his word, but his loyalty comes at the expense of any semblance of common sense as “Our Kind of Traitor” unspools. The movie grossly overestimates the audience’s sympathy for a murderous thug and its interest in the morality of international banking. “Our Kind of Traitor” values honor, but there’s no honor in being dumb.
‘Our Kind of Traitor’
Rated R for violence, language throughout, some sexuality, nudity and brief drug use
Running time: 107 minutes