Critical Condition: Traitors

Traitors | Netflix, from Friday

☆☆☆☆ “Keeley Hawes as a quietly revolutionary civil servant. Michael Stuhlbarg playing a murderous, paranoid spy. A potentially starmaking turn from Emma Appleton as the naive conservative Feef Symonds, sucked out of her depth and into international espionage. A mightily talented screenwriter in Bash Doran and safe pair of directorial hands in Dearbhla Walsh. All working on a pivotal moment in British history, as the Attlee government recasts an ailing postwar Britain. Everything about Traitors sounded so good on paper, which has made the undercooked reality of how it’s turning out all the more disappointing.” — The Times.

☆☆☆☆ This is improbable territory to which historians lend little credence, but when did their scoffs ever stop a dramatist? … The palette is gloomily austere. Unsettling wobbly camerawork and intrusive close-ups lend an aura of claustrophobia, which also helps keep the budget down … Traitors isn’t quite thrilling yet, but its pulse will presumably begin to race.” — The Telegraph.

☆☆☆☆ “Bash Doran’s drama used to be called Jerusalem, and offers a new spin on the spy genre by placing ambitious English woman Feef (Emma Appleton) in a web of intrigue. She spies for the Americans on the Brits, and then must work out what she’s doing. There are clunky parallels with the present but the shifting of post-war allegiances is an interesting backdrop.” — Evening Standard.

☆☆☆☆ “There has not been a costume drama that teetered on the brink of self-parody so wildly since the horses-and-cads romp Flambards, and that was 40 years ago. One minute it’s brilliant, the next it’s brilliantly stupid. Either way, you won’t stop me watching.” — Daily Mail.

☆☆☆ “I don’t usually mind this kind of revisionism; can appreciate, revel in its freshness, its new eyes, but this is in mild danger of being slathered on with a trowel. It’s always heartily good to keep an open mind. Maybe not so open that your brains fall out.” — The Guardian.

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