‘The Courier‘ is an espionage drama directed by Dominic Cooke. It was originally set to be released in 2020 and even had its premiere at that year’s Sundance Film Festival before getting a full release in 2021. The film is based on a true historical event.
Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a mild-mannered British salesman who gets recruited by MI6 Agent Dickie Franks (Angus Wright) and CIA Agent (Rachel Brosnahan) to make contact with Colonel Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze), a Soviet officer who wants to defect with his family. Wynne tells his wife Sheila (Jessie Buckley) that his sales business is struggling so he has to sell in Russia, though she suspects he is having an affair. As he works there and delivers messages, he and Oleg stumble on the Russian plan to place nukes in Cuba, leading to a race against time to stop a global disaster.
I have a soft spot for true stories of the heroes behind the greatest events in history. This one tells of how an Englishman and a Russian quite possibly save the world. In the case of this film, I think they succeeded in telling this story with excellence without making it exploitive or boring.
First of all, the performances are amazing. Cumberbatch is brilliant as Wynne , showing his fears, frustrations, and his desire to just get home to his family. Likewise, Buckley is good as his wife, who struggles to understand the secrecy of his job. The rest of the cast also did a good job of wrapping it together.
That is also true of the film’s aesthetics. Abel Korzeniowski, who also worked on Nocturnal Animals, handles the music superbly. It helped with the tension and with the emotion of the scenes. That goes for Sean Bobbitt, who did the work on Judas and the Black Messiah. His craft was top-notch on this feature and showed off his skill.
The story is also incredibly fascinating. Seeing how just two men were able to stop a crisis from happening. We watch as they dodge KGB agents, spyware, and struggling to survive in a Cold War between East and West. I appreciated that they did not try to stifle or water down the vibe of the Soviets. It shows how they are cold, calculating, and cruel to any form of dissent.
Bottom line, The Courier is an excellent film that tells a brave and harrowing story of the fight for survival that keeps you filled with tension wanting to know what happens next.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Some violence including torture, Some Minor Foul language, Brief sexual innuendo
FAVORITE QUOTE: What does this do? Shoot poison darts?
Check out the trailer below:
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