2020 | Drama | 111 minutes | In English and Russian with English subtitles
A true story. In the 1960s, the height of the Cold War, the CIA recruited Greville Wynne, an insignificant British businessman doing business in Russia, to find out about Soviet plans to install missiles in Cuba. The CIA felt that Wynne would not be suspected by the KGB of doing anything but conducting legitimate business. Wynne makes contact with Oleg Penkovsky, a Soviet official, who feels the unbalanced Nikita Khrushchev may trigger a nuclear war between the two countries. Oleg readily feeds documents and microfilm to Wynne who, in turn, transmits them to the CIA. This information convinces the CIA that Soviet missiles were indeed placed in Cuba. President Kennedy takes action and a nuclear war was averted. Unfortunately, the KGB uncovered the spying and both Oleg and Wynne were placed in prison and tortured. Their fate subsequently rested on actions taken by their respective governments.
Benedict Cumberbatch (Greville Wynne) / Merab Ninidze (Oleg Penkovsky) / Angus Wright (Dickie Franks, M16 Officer) / Rachel Brosnahan (Emily Donovan, CIA Officer) / Vladimir Chuprikov (Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary, Communist Party of the Soviet Union)
Why Stream This Film?
Greville Wynne, an American spy, and his Russian accomplice, Oleg Penkovsky, pass secrets to the CIA proving the Russians have placed nuclear missiles in Cuba. Both Greville and Oleg are discovered by the KGB, sent to prison, and tortured. On one occasion, when they meet in prison, Greville tells Oleg not to be disheartened. Because of Oleg’s work, under threat from President Kennedy, the Russians announced they were removing the Cuban missiles. This is the theme of this marvelous film.
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 87%
- Metacritic Score: 64
British Independent Film Awards: Nominated, Best Supporting Actor (Merab Ninidze)
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You couldn’t cast a more convincing spy than Benedict Cumberbatch, a star whose chief attribute is an aura of charming anonymity. He’s discretion personified, with a dash of savoir faire. He is the face of a man who keeps his secrets close to the vest and would button yours in even closer.
I’m surprised that THE COURIER worked for me as well as it did. I must give some credit to Sean Bobbitt’s moody cinematography and Abel Korzeniowski’s engaging score. Their work gave the illusion that this film could have been made in the timeframe it is set.
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