Sunday, 21 April 2019

This night manage to live up to Tinker

THE British excel at spy thrillers, so let’s hope the latest adaptation of John le Carre

THE British excel at spy thrillers, so let’s hope the latest adaptation of John le Carré’s work is just as accomplished as previous efforts.

For more than 50 years directors have been adapting the acclaimed author’s thrilling tales of espionage and corruption at the highest levels of government for the big screen.

Susanna White takes the helm of Our Kind of Traitor and, as always, the film will stand or fall on the quality and authenticity of its  retelling.

When Peter and his girlfriend, Gail, cross paths with the charismatic Dima on their Moroccan holiday, the forceful Russian is quick to challenge Peter to a friendly game of tennis. But this innocuous contest is not all it seems — Dima is a long-time servant of the Russian mafia, whose new boss “The Prince” wants him and his family dead.

His only hope is to ask the unsuspecting Peter to broker him sanctuary with the British intelligence services, in return for exposing a vein of corruption that runs right to the heart of the City of London.

Soon they find themselves on a tortuous journey through Paris to a safe house in the Swiss Alps and, with the might of the Russian mafia closing in, begin to realise that this particular match is being played for the highest stakes of all.

White has a cast most directors could only dream of working with — Ewan McGregor, Damian Lewis, Naomie Harris and Stellan SkarsgÃ¥rd.

This will surely rival 2014’s A Most Wanted Man, starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, or perhaps even the stellar Tinker Tailor Solider Spy (2011), which featured one of the finest British ensemble casts in recent memory in the shape of Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Mark Strong and Benedict Cumberbatch.

But the film’s strength will ultimately be in its writing.

Hossein Amini has the honour of putting pen to paper here and well qualified he is too. He wrote the screenplay adaptation of Nicolas Winding Refn’s superb Drive (2011), based on the novel by James Sallis.

With the success and popularity of the recent BBC miniseries, The Night Manager, it could be argued that interest in le Carré’s work is at an all-time high and the film will undoubtedly benefit at the box office.

Our Kind of Traitor is showing at Henley’s Regal Picturehouse from today (Friday).

Review: David White

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