Our Kind of Traitor (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
October 7, 2016 by Dennis Amith
Susanna White’s film adaptation of John le Carre’s “Our Kind of Traitor” is a captivating thriller that includes British intelligence mixed with Russian Mafia and normal civilians trying to do the right thing. A captivating British spy thriller, “Our Kind of Traitor” is recommended!
TITLE: Our Kind of Traitor
FILM RELEASE: 2016
DURATION: 109 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, (2:40:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English and Spanish
RATED: R (Violence, Language Throughout, Some Sexuality, Nudity and Brief Drug use)
RELEASE DATE: October 18, 2016
Based on the novel by John le Carre
Directed by Susanna White
Written by Hossein Amini
Produced by Simon Cornwell, Stephen Cornwell
Co-Producer: Raphael Benoliel, Jane Frazer
Executive Producer: Jenny Borgars, Andrea Calderwood, Olivier Courson, Rom Halpern, Sam Lavender, John le Carre, Tessa Ross
Music by Marcelo Zarvo
Cinematography by Anthony Dod Mantle
Edited by Tariq Anwar, Lucia Zucchetti
Casting by Rachid Aadassi, Lucy Bevan, Taoufik El Jannani
Production Design by Sarah Greenwood
Art Direction by Dean Clegg, James Foster, Hind Ghazali, Richard Selway
Set Decoration by Katie Spencer
Costume Design by Julian Day
Stellan Skarsgard as Dima
Ewan McGregor as Perry
Naomie Harris as Gail Perkins
Damian Lewis as Hector
Khalid Abdalla as Luke
Alec Utgoff as Niki
Marek Oravec as Andrei
Dolya Gavanski as Olga
Gregoriy Dobrygin as The Prince
Velibor Topic as Emilio Del Oro
Radivojoe Bukvic as Misha
Jana Perez as Maria
Saskia Reeves as Tamara
Alicia von Rittberg as Natasha
While on vacation, a married couple unwittingly befriends a flamboyant and charismatic Russian named Dima, who – unbeknownst to them – is a kingpin money launderer for the mafia. When Dima confides to his new friends that he plans to escape from the mob, they’re quickly swept into the dangerous world of international espionage. The unlikely companions must undertake a perilous journey through Paris, Bern, and London and form an unsettling alliance with a ruthless British MI6 agent in order to save Dima and his family.
Writer John le Carre is known for writing espionage novels such as “A Perfect Spy”, “The Constant Gardner”, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”, “The Tailor of Panama”, “A Most Wanted Man” and many of his films receiving TV series and film adaptations.
His 2010 novel “Our Kind of Traitor” became the latest film adaptation directed by Susanna White (“Nanny McPhee Returns”, “Lie With Me”) and a screenplay written by Hossein Amini (“Drive”, “Show White and the Huntsman”, “47 Ronin”).
The film stars Stellan Skarsgard (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Avengers”, “Good Will Hunting”), Ewan McGregor (“Star Wars: Episode 1-3”, “Trainspotting”), Naomie Harris (“Skyfall”, “28 Days Later”, “Spectre”), Damian Lewis (“Homeland”, “Life”, “Dreamcastcher”), Khalid Abdalla (“The Kite Runner”, “United 93”, “Green Zone”), Alicia von Rittberg (“Barbara”, “Fury”) and many more.
The film begins with the head of the Russian Mafia, “The Prince” creating a new bank and having wealthy financial oligarchs sign over their accounts to his new bank.
The first is a family with a talented ballerina, all are killed by an assassin.
The film then switches to a married couple, Poetics lecturer Perry McKendrick (portrayed by Ewan McGregor) and his barrister wife Gail (portrayed by Naomie Harris) on a trip to Morocco in hopes to salvage what is left of their marriage. Gail is having a hard time being with her husband after he had slept with one of his students.
Because of the trouble, the two are not able to enjoy an intimate moment and while having dinner, she has to leave on business. Perry is welcomed by a man named Dima to join him for a drink at his table. At first, Perry is not interested but Dima (portrayed by Stellan Skarsgard) tells him that if he can remember his credit card number after briefly looking at it, Perry must drink with them.
Dima remembers the numbers and so Perry joins him and his friends for a drink. Dima then welcomes Perry to join him for tennis the following morning and invites Perry and Gail to come to his daughter’s birthday.
When Dima and Perry talk on the rooftop, Dima confesses that he is with the Russian mafia and is in fear of his and his family’s life after hearing about his fellow oligarch’s death and asks Perry for a big favor and that is to take a USB stick and hand it over to British MI6 when he returns to the airport in London.
Perry turns in the USB and the investigator in charge, Hector (portrayed by Damian Lewis) doesn’t understand why Perry would help out someone in the Russian mafia and doesn’t understand why he didn’t take the money that Dima offered him for making the delivery.
Hector finds out that the information on the USB shows that there is a meeting between the Prince and Aubrey Longrigg, a senior politician that Hector believes to be corrupt but needs more information to put them away. Hoping that his supervisor Billy Matlock (portrayed by Mark Gatiss) will allow him to pursue the case even further with these new developments, unfortunately he is not allowed to.
So, Hector decides to pursue the operation and personally fund it. And uses the McKendricks to stage a meeting with Dima, so Hector can hope he gets the name of all the names of the corrupt people involved, including bankers and politicians involved. But Dima is only willing to do so, if Hector can grant he and his family asylum in London.
“Our Kind of Traitor” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio). The film looks very good in HD as closeups show great detail. Wonderful cinematography from Anthony Dod mantle (“Slumdog Millionaire”, “127 Hours”, “Rush”) showcasing character closeups, good use of angled shots and capturing emotion. I didn’t notice any banding or artifact issues during my viewing of the film.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Our Kind of Traitor” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The film features crystal clear dialogue and the film features a decent amount of actions at times.
Subtitles are in English and Spanish.
“Our Kind of Traitor” comes with the following special features:
- The Making of Our Kind of Traitor – (10:58) Director Susanna White, producers and cast discuss the making of “Our Kind of Traitor”.
- Deleted Scenes – (5:25) Featuring five deleted scenes.
- The Cast – (3:27) Interviews with director Susanna White and the cast of “Our Kind of Traitor”.
- The Story – (3:05) Interviews with director Susanna White and the cast of “Our Kind of Traitor” about the story.
“Our Kind of Traitor” comes with a slipcover and an UltraViolet HD code.
When it comes to espionage stories, John le Carre is a master storyteller.
Having worked for the Security Service and the Secret Intelligence service, his third novel, “The Spy Who Came In from the cold” was an international best seller and considered by Time Magazine as one of the “All-Time 100 Novels”.
The film adaptions are also well-done and as le Carre continues to write and release novels, many studios are excited to create a film adaptation. And here we are with a 2016 film adaptation of le Carre’s 2010 novel about a Russian money launderer seeking to defect from the Russian Mafia after his close friend is killed by his new superiors.
The film revolves a British University poetics lecturer, Perry McKendrick. A man trying to make amends with his wife Gail after having an affair with a student. And a man with a good heart that will help a longtime Russian Mafia member named Dima who pleads for his help in order to protect him and his family from “The Prince”, the leader of the Russian Mafia who has created a new bank using financials from other Russian Mafia heads by murdering them and with the help of corrupted officials.
As Perry and his wife, Gail put their lives on the line to help Dima’s family. But things are not easy as Dima must keep his own men, he doesn’t trust, close to not arouse any suspicion, but knowing that they are probably going to kill him if he doesn’t get any help.
Meanwhile, we have an investigator named Hector who has been trying to nail “the Prince” and other corrupt officials and gang members who are involved in setting up this bank. But without the support of his superior, Hector continues the operation using his own personal funds and is depending on Perry and his wife to help him get close to Dima, and in hopes of Dima giving him the info. he needs to lock these criminals up.
But the only way Dima will help is if authorities grant him and his family asylum.
Meanwhile, for Dima who has the mafia after him, the last person he would expect to help him, is the kind lecturer and his wife.
Ewan McGregor shows us a different side of his acting of late, breaking away from the shadows of his “Star Wars” past, meanwhile Stellan Skarsgard does a magnificent job playing Dima, a member of the Russian mafia needing of major help.
And I have to give filmmaker Susanna White major credit. As a fan of John le Carre’s film, she definitely did a wonderful job of directing this film, as with writer Hossein Amini.
As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is fantastic and lossless audio features crystal clear dialogue and action sequences utilize the surround channels when needed. Also, a few special features with interviews with the cast and crew are included.
Overall, Susanna White’s film adaptation of John le Carre’s “Our Kind of Traitor” is a captivating thriller that includes British intelligence mixed with Russian Mafia and normal civilians trying to do the right thing.
A captivating British spy thriller, “Our Kind of Traitor” is recommended!
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