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Our Kind of Traitor

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Quick! Name a memorable Ewan McGregor performance. Neither can I. Who better to play a college poetics professor who, apart from being a principled sort, is utterly unremarkable? (DJ Qualls would have been the honorable choice.) Knowing a kosher salt when he sees one, a money-laundering Russian mob accountant (Stellan Skarsgård, boisterous as a jack-in-the-box, coiled and prone to physical outbursts both random and amusing) inveigles the altruistic patsy’s sympathy in order to facilitate a deal with British Secret Service to help usher his family to safety in exchange for top-secret documents. Government agents generally play to one of two extremes: all bad or all good. Underneath the power frames, Damian Lewis’s ruthless MI6 agent grooves on the complexities of moral functioning needed to turn his otherwise rank-and-file pest into an appreciably well-heeled heel. The mid-summer release of an adult, effects-free British thriller relating to the collapse of Europe’s global financial system timed out perfectly. You’ll Brexit knowing that your entertainment dollar was well spent. (2016) — Scott Marks

Rated R | 1 hour, 48 minutes
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