Esther McCarthy reviews Our Kind of traitor and Everybody Wants Some
Our Kind of Traitor (15A) ****
The latest adaptation of a John Le Carre bestseller sees Ewan McGregor and Naomi Harris play Perry and Gail, a middle class English couple looking to overcome a rough patch in their marriage with a sun holiday in exotic Marrakech.
There, the couple befriend a flamboyant and charming Russian man, Dima, and his young family. But even from their initial meeting, there appears to be more to Dima than meets the eye - his taste for expensive wines and a luxurious lifestyle suggest he may be a powerful character.
It emerges that Dima is one of the Russian Mafia’s top money launderers and is, he claims, desperate to disassociate himself and his family from the dangerous characters he works for.
The British couple are presented with a dangerous challenge - to deliver highly classified information to British secret services in exchange for the safe repatriation of the Russian and his family.
It’s just the beginning of a tale of double-crossing and corrupt politics as the couple and the Russian family attempt a risky journey to safety across Paris, Switzerland and numerous hidden safehouses.
Meanwhile, the couple find themselves drawn deeper and deeper into the negotiations by a ruthless MI6 agent, who may have agendas of his own. Damien Lewis is great here as the agent whose motivations will keep you guessing right through the film.
Everybody Wants Some! (15A) ****
Linklater’s first film following the wonderful Boyhood features a cast of mostly unknowns in universally fine performances.
It centres on Jake (Blake Jenner) a freshman pitcher who’s landed a collage place based on his sports prowess, and tries to fit in in the house he shares with his very different teammates.
There’s the redneck Billy, the suave McReynolds, who’s wonderfully quick with the putdowns, the mysterious stoner Willoughby and the comical Dale.
They may be playing the college students’ game of living as loud and fast as they possibly can, but Jake’s already got his eye on a girl.
The film’s been described as a companion to Linklater’s 90s hit, Dazed & Confused, about high school students getting ready for summer. To be frank, it’s better than that.
The filmmaker and his cast are playing it for laughs (and there is much hilarity to be had) but there is unexpected depth to these jocks too.
Those who tire easily of Linklater’s talky dialogue may find themselves checking out early, but I loved every meandering minute. It’s a sweet and funny and witty film.