People are calling this predictable and mediocre (i'd call it dependable since we all know LeCarre's M.O. by now) but i felt the acting kept me interested and the diversionary spy story was not without moral weight which is lacking in most films.
Hossein Amini's script (based on John le Carre's book) has enough layers of morality and Hellenic drama to keep Susanna White's journeyman directing afloat. Helping out is d.p. Anthony Dod Mantle who applies an acid-yellow palette and never wastes any opportunity for an interesting camera angle. Most interesting is Stellan Skarsgard as a beefy, long-haired Russian mafia defector. One of his very best performances.
This film also has Stellan Skarsgård's floppy penis. His penis sure gets around. I think that's what John Le Carré was hoping for. That, and the always lovely Ewan McGregor who isn't shy about his penis either. Ultimately, isn't that what this is really about? Just a bunch of penises fighting each other?
Another brilliant story from John Le Carre from his sons' company The Ink Factory. It has all the hallmarks of a high quality thriller and we find Ewan McGregor as a humble professor from London strangely entangled with the Russian Mafia. It unfolds with a fantastic cast with Damien Lewis and Naomie Harris and like the Night Manager from the same author it is extremely good.
After a promising and shocking opening, this turns into an underwhelming and predictable affair. McGregor is infuriatingly bland (where is that spark from his early performances?!), Harris okay, Skarsgard appealing. Lewis is interesting: he attempts a still-waters-stiff-upper-lip thing but it doesn't quite come off, making me yearn for an Oldman or Guinness to bring to life the classic tortured civil servant role.
I wonder if TV hasn't rendered this particular kind of material obsolete, given how light and disposable this feels compared to denser offerings. Globe-trotting even looks boring here, though I wasn't a fan of the ugly sheen that the cinematography depicted it through either. Ewan cashes in his next cheque and Skarsgard seems to be the only one having fun, even if he remains miscast. Bland film.
The kind of film where about 40 minutes in you lose the hope that it would all turn out to be a cruel prank on the protagonists. Then you spend another 20 minutes desperately hoping it would turn out to be a stupid prank on the viewers. Then you just sit it out.
A tense thriller with enough tension to shake up the surroundings of the cloak and dagger intrigue. It's entertaining for a popcorn thriller that doesn't leave as many troubled moral questions as prior John Le Carre adaptations have done in the recent past. Ewan McGregor sadly doesn't carry the film as strongly for a leading man as his more engaging co-stars, including the master giant Stellan Skarsgard.