- Benedict Cumberbatch, Merab Ninidze, Rachel Brosnahan
- Written by
- Tom O' Connor
- Directed by
- Dominic Cooke
- Run Time
- 1h 51min
- Release Date
- March 19th, 2021
Throughout history you always hear about that few guys who won a war or stopped one from happening. The truth though, like with most things, it is never just one, but the acts of many who get us through those dark times. In 1962 the United States and the Soviet Union were on the brink of war, until the Soviet Union blinked and backed off from their plans. We know the names Kennedy and Khrushchev, but do you know the names Wynne and Penkovsky? You can be forgiven for not, but it gives you a great reason to watch The Courier, because there is always more than just two sides to a story.
Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) was just a sales man who was good at his job selling whatever he sold. That changes when the U.S. learns of a valuable asset in Russia who could give them access to information that have never been able to see. After an incident the U.S. doesn’t have many people on the ground and turn to England for help. That is where Wynne comes in, as his job would allow him to meet and return a foreign country with the info without causing any alarms. The asset Wynne meets is a high ranking official names Oleg Penkovsky (Marad Ninidze), who sees where things are headed and wants to do all he can to help stop it. There is the strong point in the story, and Tom O’ Connor, who wrote the screenplay, shows that these two men were just doing what they thought was right. You see that in Cumberbatch and Ninidze’s performances as they play men who would become heroes because they rose to the challenge of the situation they were put in. For most of the time things go off without a hitch and the info that is being received is helpful, but things take a turn. Eventually Wynne’s trips start to raise suspicion and with it increased attention to why he is there. Things finally reach a boiling point when Wynne and the U.S. try and get Penkovsky and his family out of the country, which sets up the toughest test either of these two men had ever faced.
Learning about a story that might not be so well known in the states, but lead to a war not happening, was pretty fascinating. You know there are so many stories like this, but because of national security, we never hear them or we hear them much later. For the role Cumberbatch really disappears playing Wynne, as he shows one of those physical transformation roles. Gone also is that Cumberbatch charm and swagger, as there is nothing fascinating about Wynne, except for what he did. Written by Tom O’ Connor, which is far from his last film The Hitman’s Bodyguard , which just is a perfect example of a writer not just writing the same thing over and over again. With The Courier O’ Connor writes the best Cold War Thriller since Bridge of Spies and in some ways it might be better. It’s a highly compelling story about friendship and a chilling description of the world during that time. What we end up with is a film that is tightly executed and good on its history and tells gives some insight to the devotion to life he always hear about but rarely see.