Friday, March 19, 2021

The Courier (2021) - Movie Review

The Movie: The Courier

The Director: Dominic Cooke

The Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Merab Ninidze, Rachel Brosnahan, Jessie Buckley

The Story: A true-life spy thriller, the story of an unassuming British businessman Greville Wynne recruited into one of the greatest international conflicts in history.

The Review:
The spy thriller is a genre I will always enjoy, especially when the stories come from the times and eras before technology changed the dynamics completely. espionage just isn't the same when you can track a person's every move and find instant information on any hand held device. This story is based on actual events and real people and it all happened during the cold war when the United States and the Soviet Union were about as close to nuclear war as they could possibly be. The events that took place and the people we see in this movie went a long way towards preventing that type of global disaster that seemed inevitable at the time.

Let me first just say that the cast for this movie is absolutely top notch and leading the way is Benedict Cumberbatch as unassuming salesman turned international spy Greville Wynne. The actor most known for his days as Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Strange turns in what I feel is one of his best efforts to date. The range he shows from the whimsical to the agonizing is just so good and all of his efforts elevate this movie to a highly entertaining experience. While Cumberbatch may be most known for his Marvel performances, Rachel Brosnahan is known for her own marvelous work as Mrs. Maisel and she carries her current hot streak right into the cold war as CIA officer Emily Donovan. Other standout performances include Jessie Buckley as Sheila Wynne and Merab Ninidze as Oleg Penkovsky, the Soviet military intelligence colonel who betrayed his country to prevent a war.

One of the things I was really impressed with this movie is the pacing as this type of story can often get bogged down by too much exposition or just lackluster storytelling. The pacing is efficient without feeling forced and there is just enough tension to keep you engaged while the lighter moments keep things balanced from beginning to end. Top all of that off with some really great production design and costume work and I was very impressed with this movie from top to bottom which makes it weird that it was put out right after award season deadlines. I don't know if it will hold up over the course of the year, I feel like this is going to be a big year for movies, but I'll definitely be keeping it in mind.

The Verdict:
The Courier delivers a thrilling cold war document and sheds light on a couple unsung heroes from one of humanity's most dangerous times. This is a very entertaining movie and a pleasant surprise from a genre that doesn't always deliver the good.

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