A spy film by the same person who wrote Tinker, Tailer, Soldier, Spy AND The Night Manager? Starring Ewan McGregor, Namoi Harris, Stellan Skarsgård AND Damian Lewis. Now this should be awesome.
Except it isn’t.
And there’s plenty of blame to go around.
Where to start…
The film’s actually got a pretty interesting (if slightly shaky) premise, a holidaying couple are befriended by a man who turns out to be working for the Russian Mafia (It happens), he gives them a memory stick to take to MI6 and from there they are dragged into a world where no-one can be trusted and their own lives are at stake.
I’ll begin with the low-hanging fruit. I could neither see nor hear what was going on. Thee dialogue was mumbled because its ‘very, very serious’, and the shooting style was full of streaks and smears and extreme close-ups. I spent half the film trying to work out if the main character was called ‘Barry’ or ‘Perry’ and all the supporting cast were just ‘generic Russian’ or ‘shifty bureaucrat.’ An attempted twist at the end had no meaning because I had no idea who wither of the characters were.
Speaking of the charterers, none of them had any chemistry. Not the main couple, nor Lewis, Skarsgard is clearly having a blast channeling Brian Blessed in one scene and playing a desperate man with nothing but bad hands to play in another. It’s a performance that deserves to be in a better film.
Sadly, the film also falls to the usual Le Carre cliches, people in smoke filled rooms making decisions that are then carried out by the foot soldiers, a world full of shades of grey and then there’s the ending.
SPOILER PARAGRAPH There is a point where the film was clearly supposed to end in the only way that it could, but then it just keeps going. Clearly, the studios demanded that the film end in a better light than was natural and as a result the last 5 minutes betrays what little goodwill the film had generated with me.
MY SCORE- Poor