The Courier (2021): Ordinary man, extraordinary feat

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Benedict Cumberbatch and Merab Ninidze tin 'The Courier' (2021)

Benedict Cumberbatch returns to our screens this weekend as ‘The Courier’ – an unbelievable tale based on historical fact of a British salesman in the 1960s who was catapulted into a world of espionage fraught with danger.

Over the years, I have often mentioned that history is always so much more palatable when translated to film or into a novel. It is not merely the regurgitation of ‘dry’ facts, but rather the ability of the director (and the actors) to bring the characters to life in a way that’s gripping and exciting. The visual and audible imprint on one’s mind makes the outing to the cinema a fun learning experience in addition to the entertainment factor.

Life as a courier

Cumberbatch takes on the role of Greville Wynne – a salesman to the core, with no pretensions as to his abilities. Customers are not only his bread and butter, but his entire existence… and that is just what is needed as a cover to infiltrate Russia in the midst of the Cold War.

The consummate actor has the ability to transport the viewer into Wynne’s life building up sympathy, fear, tension and more. His contact in Russia is Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) – a disillusioned Colonel who realizes the danger posed by Nikita Khruschev and does what he can to save the world from nuclear disaster.

Wynne and Penkovsky’s relationship is real and almost tangible which makes for magical viewing! The Cuban Missile Crisis was a reality as was the Cold War… it took these two men to swallow their personal pride, put their countries and fellow man ahead of themselves and ultimately be recorded in the annals of history as saviours of the world as we know it. Well worth watching!

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Mirab Ninidze, Rachel Brosnahan, Angus Wright

Director: Dominic Cooke

Writer: Tom O’ Connor



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