A young Oxford academic and his attorney girlfriend holiday on Antigua. They bump into a Russian millionaire who owns a peninsula and a diamond watch. He wants a game of tennis. What else he wants propels the lovers on a tortuous journey to the City of London and its unholy alliance with Britain's intelligence establishment, to Paris and the Alps.
ActorsStarring: Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgård, Damian Lewis, Naomie Harris, Jeremy Northam, Khalid Abdalla, Mark Gatiss, Saskia Reeves, Alicia von Rittberg, Alec Utgoff, Mark Stanley, Grigoriy Dobrygin, Marek Oravec, Velibor Topic, Jana Perez, Carlos Acosta, Pawel Szajda, Radivoje Bukvić, Christian Brassington, Dolya Gavanski
Perry (played by Ewan McGregor) is a teacher on holiday in Marrakech with his barrister wife Gail (Naomie Harris). They are dining in a restaurant opposite a boisterous group of Russians, and when Gail has to head off early to take a work call he is invited over for a drink by one of the Russians – Dima (Stellan Skarsgard). The Russians are pretty evidently mafiosa, but despite this Perry heads off to a party with them after the restaurant, and agrees to play tennis with his new-found friend Dima the next day, and a further party that night. Gail, more worldly wise, or so it seems, is nervous yet goes along with this. At the party Dima asks a favour of Perry, who agrees in the kind of way that one imagines that people who receive Nigerian scam emails go: “Oh look, someone I have met before is offering to send me millions if I just send them my bank details, my day is shaping up well; what could possibly go wrong?”
Unremarkably, things go awry, leading to a increasingly implausible chain of events that involve Hector (Damian Lewis) and an excuse to spend some money filming on location Paris and Switzerland. The plot has more holes in it than a colander, and the direction is listless and unconvincing, managing to bring as much tension to the scenes as a limp lettuce. The charismatic Stellan Skarsgard is the only thing worth watching in the film. Damian Lewis hams his way through his role sheepishly to collect his pay, and Naomie Harris’s character is expected to be ludicrously naïve despite her backstory, as well as having a remarkably relaxed schedule for a barrister – several days off at no notice is no problem at all for her. Ewan McGregor’s Bambi-like performance reflects the stunning implausibility of the writing. There have been some fine movies about ordinary people swept up in darker events (“The Man who Knew Too Much” and “North by Northwest” amongst them) but this is not one of them. Instead it feels like an unedited first draft of a bad episode of “Spooks”. Avoid.