Thursday, February 25th, 2021

The Courier : the most unlikely true Spy story ever


The Courier takes us back to the time last century when a successful British Businessman was recruited by the MI6 the UK’s Spy Service to spy on Russia .  Those  were the (good) old days when we still had the old-fashioned cloak and dagger real-life spies and Russia was the ONLY country that was a threat to the Western world.  Now it is all cyber stalking/hacking done without even leaving  home, and the last US  President was actually eager to get in bed with the former Enemy Number One.

The film written by Tom O’Connor is based on the real, although highly unlikely true story, when in the 1960’s against the backdrop of the Cuban Missile drama, the West wanted to  find a total unknown to spy on Russia.  

In a wonderful scene where the crusty old upperclass Establishment Brits who run the M16  not only have to work with the CIA but they  are represented by a very efficient  young woman (played compelling by Rachel  Brosnahan.)  They opt for unassuming British businessman Greville Wynne who has extensive business connections in Eastern Europe.

When Wynne is persuaded it would be his patriotic duty to take on the role , overnight he is has to change into an amateur sleuth whose task is to stop the world ending up in a Nuclear War. The reality of the situation is hard to comprehend but Wynne (played with such style by Benedict Cumberbatch)  enthusiatically does his best to save the World.

With Prague standing in for Moscow, director Dominic Cooke, paints an oppressive Russian regime as the only ‘baddies’ in this story.  And when Wynne  and his main Russian contact Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) are discovered, we are shown them brutally treated in Russian jails where they are expected to die.

Turning bumbling amateur spy Wynne into a scared shaven head  prisoner in solitary confinement does at least start to add some much needed excitement to the story.

Maybe it was the pressure of the intent on keeping rigidly to the minute detail of real life story that dulled the film too much at times.  However fans of English period dramas will love to see London in the 60”s like this , and if nothing else the performance of both Cumberbatch and Brosnahan make it worth sitting through the whole 2 hours  

Posted by queerguru  at  10:50


Genres:  drama, thriller

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