Our Kind of Traitor: So-So Screen Version of John Le Carre Novel, Starring Ewan McGregor, Skarsgard, and Damian Lewis

In Our Kind of Traitor, Ewan McGregor plays a poetry professor recruited by MI6 to bring a Russian mafia accountant (Stellan Skarsgärd) in from the cold.

It’s hard to tell whether McGregor, the ever-likable and ultra-modest actor, has been miscast, or misdirected by Susana White, working from a screenplay by Hossein Amini

Adapted from John Le Carré’s 2010 novel of the same name, the film may has gained extra relevance due to the recent Panama Papers scandal.

However, as directed, shot, and edited, neither the plot nor the characters are plausible or intriguing enough to merit our sustained attention.

Skarsgärd, usually a reliable pro with an impressive range, over-acts as the Russian determined to get his family to safety in return for supplying incriminating information.

McGregor, meanwhile, struggles to find his footing and sound realistic in this heavy dialogue driven film.

Damien Lewis, still vastly underestimated in the industry, is the only actor in the cast who is compelling as an MI6 spymaster forced to go rogue.

The conventions of this genre have changed over the past decade as a result of the Bourne film franchise, mostly directed by Paul Greengrass, and other movies. However, as a function of its limited budget (by Hollywood standards) and/or lack of skills, the production values of Our Kind of Traitor are modest, and the whole film is too old-fashioned.

Movies made from Le Carre novels are usually intelligent, witty, cynical, and intriguing, but seldom flat. Director Susana White does her best to create a world that’s sleek and exciting and dangerous, but there is too much exposition in the movie and not enough drama or action.