THE COURIER is a true-life spy thriller, the story of an unassuming British businessman Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) recruited into one of the greatest international conflicts in history.
At the behest of the UK’s MI-6 and a CIA operative (Rachel Brosnahan), he forms a covert, dangerous partnership with Soviet officer Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) in an effort to provide crucial intelligence needed to prevent a nuclear confrontation and defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Cumberbatch, emaciated and shaven-headed, exposes the slightly alien being he always contains and the film gears up considerably in emotional impact. This is Cumberbatch’s best espionage film, then, after Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
The Courier effectively holds attention, proceeding carefully with sometimes obvious moves. But, it also delivers valuable supporting material to the more widely known Cuban Missile Crisis.
This CIA/MI6-run British courier who ferried Soviet nuclear secrets is responsible for the hotline that now connects the White House and the Kremlin so nuclear brinkmanship such as the Cuban missile crisis can never happen again. Good history lesson.
Based on a real-life story, it’s one of the most compelling Cold War thrillers of recent years.