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Our Kind of Traitor

Our Kind of Traitor

Our Kind of Traitor

2 August 2016

By Mark Hadley

Rating: MA 

Release Date: 13 August 

In a world that has grown used to seeing its secret agents in the form of James Bond and Jason Bourne, Our Kind Of Traitor introduces a much more understated hero. He lacks the panache of a 007 and the deadliness of a Treadstone graduate, but the qualities its champion displays are much more in reach of the average man – if he can come to appreciate them.

Our Kind Of Traitor is based on a best-selling novel by John le Carré, the same writer who created suspense-filled tales like Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and The Constant Gardener. A British couple are holidaying in Marrakech, trying to rekindle the romance of their relationship after a damaging affair. Naomi Harris plays Gail, a topflight barrister, and Ewan McGregor her lecturer husband, Perry. When Gail answers a work call, Perry is thrown into the company of Dima, a boisterous Russian played by Stellan Skarsgård. Dima reveals he is a financial controller for the Russian mafia. He and his family are likely to be eliminated as soon as he transfers the final accounts under his control – will Perry help save their lives? All the “professor” need do is deliver a thumb drive to MI6 when he returns to London. However, Perry’s fatal decision to help soon draws he and his wife into the orbit of conscienceless killers and international spies.

Our Kind Of Traitor is a plot that twists on the single value of honour. As Perry’s wife observes, “When [Dima] asked for your help, I don’t think he imagined in his wildest dreams how far you would go for him.” Time and again it is pointed out to Perry that he could just walk away from this deadly situation. But this everyman finds himself filling in the gaps for MI6 because a greater ideal drives him: “You don’t know the people you defend – and you do everything you can for them whether they’re innocent or guilty.”

Integrity in Our Kind Of Traitor is defined as having the courage to stick to your decision, regardless of the consequences. This also happens to be part of the Bible’s definition for a righteous man. Who can live in God’s company? Psalm 15 says: “[One] who despises a vile person but honours those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind” (Psalm 15:4).

This is a constancy that is both easy to understand and instantly applicable to every adult: rejecting evil and embracing good, regardless of the consequences. It seems simple enough, but such an ideal is profoundly powerful in its ability to shape your life. Rest assured, your neighbours and co-workers will mark you out long before the Russian mafia comes looking for you. However, it is also well beyond our reach. Perry manages it for the duration of a movie, but he’s also guilty of cheating on his wife.

In short, if we want to live with a perfect God, we are going to need a more consistent stand-in than ourselves. The Psalmist was pointing forward to Jesus, the everyman who put himself in the line of fire for more than just one family. If we stand in his shadow, we will find there more than enough integrity to save us.

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