The Courier Review

Spy films have evolved since their origin. The James Bond franchise is the measuring stick that all spy films are measured by. But that isn’t where the spy genre stops. Some are comedies, some are based on television shows, and some are based on great works of literature. All that considered, the best spy films are those based in reality and on true stories. The Courier is based on a true story and it’s very good.

Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a normal businessman. He has dealings with men and women from all over the world, which puts him on the radar of the British Intelligence Agency and the CIA. When a Russian Colonel reaches out to the British Intelligence community and the CIA, they enlist Cumberbatch’s character to help them get Russian intelligence on their nuclear proliferation and whether this is a threat to the rest of the world during the Cold War.

Cumberbatch has played everything from Sherlock Holmes to Doctor Stephen Strange in his award-winning career. He just seems to fit in any time he plays from that of an army lawyer in The Mauritanian or Wikileaks founder Julien Assange in The Fifth Estate. His acting style is that of one that can meld into any character he plays. He’s even played characters such as Alan Turing, in his Oscar-nominated performance in The Imitation Game and Peter Guillam in Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy. His performance in The Courier is as good as the others he’s delivered in his career.

Other than Cumberbatch, the film also has some other solid performances. Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) as a CIA officer, Jesse Buckley (Wild Rose) as Wynne’s wife, and Merab Ninidze as the potential Russian defector. All actors involved are very effective in getting the motivations and stories of these characters across in this film.

The thing that needs to be asked about spy films is whether they bring suspense and espionage to the table. That is a key to a great spy film. The Courier succeeds in that regard. Aside from actually knowing about this true story most viewers were sure to be surprised and entertained by the content of this film. The writers did a great job of keeping the plot secret so the twists and turns were genuinely a surprise.

The Courier has some twists and turns and some solid writing to boot. The acting is very solid as well from some veteran actors. As far as spy films go it’s not the best, but definitely not the worst. It’s the middle of the road. If I hadn’t seen some similar films very recently I may have liked it more. It’s just not on the level of Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy, or a couple of the Daniel Craig Bond Films. It’s good though.

3 1/2 stars

Dan Skip Allen

Sean Boelman

Founder/EIC disappointment media

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