Growing up as a little boy in New York, I don’t think a week went by that I didn’t pretend by myself or with my friends that I was a spy. It always seemed so exciting and so forbidden. However, in my teen years I realized that I was a bit too ordinary to be a spy. An ordinary man becoming a spy, that couldn’t happen, but it did with the true-life story of Greville Wayne, in the movie “The Courier.” When I initially heard about this movie it intrigued me, but then when I heard that Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Mazel”) was one of the stars, I was all about getting the preview copy and excited to see it.
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. It is directed and written superbly by Dominic Cooke and Tom O’Connor respectively.
In my movie reviews, I never try to give away any of the plot that is not apparent from the commercial, but if you are not aware of the amazing efforts made by ordinary British citizen Greville Wynne during the Cold War, you will walk away from the movie remembering his superhuman bravery thanks to what is a nail biting and well-paced thriller.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Merab Ninidze performances are excellent. Their “business” relationship, which turned into friendship is the pulse of the movie. You care about them, you care about their friendship, and therefore you care about the outcome. As I said, Cumberbatch is great in the movie, but the standout of this movie is Ninidze. As Penkovsky, the righteous traitor who put the stream of messages from Russia to USA in motion, he gives a powerful, intense, yet understated performance. In the scene where the KGB comes to his house, his acting is spine tingling.
Let us not forget Brosnahan and Buckley, who in their supporting roles, show women under intense stress doing what needed to be done.
This spy thriller delivers on all accounts, which makes it a must see.
The Courier opens in theaters all over South Florida today, March 19, is rated PG-13 and is 111 minutes in length. For more information, go to: thecouriermovie.com.