Adam Lawrence (Charlie Cox) seeks to commit Treason in this new Netflix series which arrives on Boxing Day.
First, filling the boots of his boss Sir Martin Angelis (Ciarán Hinds) following an assassination attempt, then then navigating the treacherous waters of international espionage trying to protect his family.
However, beyond the secret liaisons and convoluted catch-ups that make any spy thriller worth watching, audiences will only be interested in one thing: Can Charlie Cox pull it off? An answer, on this occasion, which strongly depends on whether the public is a fan of Daredevil or of the actor himself.
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Conjured out of nowhere by Oscar-nominated scribe Matt Charman (Bridge of Spies), this highly polished spy hug is kept on track by Charlie Cox. Facing older colleagues in the first five minutes, Adam Lawrence is forced to prioritize professional choices over personal responsibilities. These are decisions that will define his tenure, while providing ammunition for those seeking power for themselves.
The betrayal begins with all the subterfuge and backbiting that audiences would expect from any half-decent example of this genre, but quickly falls back into formula. Adam establishes himself very early as a father, surrounded by his son’s primary class when he receives an unexpected call. Sir Martin has been poisoned and Adam is to take over with immediate effect.
That the hit is part of a bigger plan shouldn’t come as a surprise, since creator Matt Charman has already made audiences complicit in his introduction of Kara (Olga Kurylenko), an old love from Adam’s past, who helped to make his way easier. to promotional fame for several years. A fact that gets him in hot water when she starts demanding reimbursement for all those professional favors, whether he acknowledges them or not.
Watch a trailer for Betrayal
Coincidentally, his wife Maddie (Oona Chaplin) has an old friend from the CIA on vacation in the UK when it all begins. Dede (Tracy Ifeachor) is obviously not here for sightseeing, but rather stationed in London for surveillance purposes. As the plot thickens and Kara continues to demand more and more information from Adam, this show begins to lose its appeal.
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As the twists pile up, it all becomes overwhelmingly obvious. Whether it boils down to the transparent kidnapping plot that targets the Children of Adam or the fact that it lasts less than half an episode is up for debate.
That there seems to be little to no chemistry between Charlie Cox and Olga Kurylenko also undermines their history as ex-lovers. This of course happens before Adam is forced to reveal his past transgressions, hand over his notice, and commit treachery to make things right.
How and why and when Adam manages to do all of this is academic in terms of entertainment, because by then audiences understood that Charlie Cox can do anything. This actor, who learned his trade on stage and returns to it periodically when possible, can handle more than his own superhero franchise in Daredevil: Born Again.
On paper, Betrayal looks like a conventional spy thriller with few surprises, which is unfortunately exactly what audiences should expect on Boxing Day when it hits Netflix. Ciaran Hinds and Olga Kurylenko could offer strong support for Cox, who certainly seems to be on the rise in terms of star status, but the fact remains that this story is far from top-tier material.
For the most part, it looks like a solid package that recognizes it might not be in an exceptional job. It’s all in the numbers and ticking all the boxes without fuss, but ultimately Treason lacks suspense, even if a propulsive soundtrack might suggest otherwise. Under these constraints, Charlie Cox can’t do much but hold his own onscreen, as any semblance of plot seems unable to help him.
From an Oscar-nominated screenwriter connected to a Steven Spielberg project like Bridge of Spies, audiences will expect something better. Unfortunately, Betrayal is extremely average in every aspect except for the soundtrack and the overall cast. A better example of the genre that should be sought out immediately is Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy with Gary Oldman.
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However, instead of making the sensible decision and looking for a quality spy thriller of this ilk, Treason should only be considered by loyal fans – namely anyone who wants to see Charlie Cox own a mediocre Netflix Original.
Everyone should do themselves a favor and rewatch the Jason Bourne movies, which at least made Matt Damon a movie star – even if Jeremy Renner let the side down a bit.
Betrayal is available to stream exclusively on Netflix starting December 26.