The success of a good movie is a combination of many elements. If you've got used to the Hollywood spy thrillers that include a lot of fast action, gun wielding and physically demanding and downright impossible action sequences, this is not the movie for you.
What you have here is a slow burner that slowly smoulders and quietly starts to burn and then locks you in its grip of espionage and dirty politics. Amongst it, there's the kindness of a man, a guttural acknowledgement of a deep growing friendship and an appreciation of a stranger willing to help a family in a high stakes situation, not to mention some great locations from London and Paris to the Swiss Alps.
Adapted from John le Carré's 22nd novel of the same name, it's set in contemporary, recession gripped Britain. A young Oxford academic and his barrister girlfriend take a holiday on the Caribbean island of Antigua in an obvious attempt to work on their not quite right marriage. When Gail, his wife, retires early, Peter is left to cross paths with the charismatic Dima who is also on holiday with his family. Against his better judgement, Dima's big personality wins out and Peter joins him for a night of partying and a morning of tennis.
It turns out that Dima is a long time member of the Russian mafia, and one of their best money launderers. His new boss wants him and his family dead and he's desperate for sanctuary with the British Intelligence Services, in exchange for exposing the corruption that also rips through London.
Stellan Skarsgård is excellent as the Russian gangster with a big personality and Ewan McGregor as the man looking for redemption with his wife, who opens his heart to helping out a family who just happen to be mafia. Naomie Harris as his wife doesn't really play a large part in the emotional content of the film and Damien Lewis, the star actor of American TV series Homeland fame takes a bit of a step back in Our Kind of Traitor. This is not a hyped up, heavy handed Hollywood movie but director Susanna White still managed to reel me in and keep me engaged as this spy movie unfolded.