This blog was authored by Allison
The Courier (2020) is based on a true story focusing around the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. In the film, Greville Wynne, an ordinary, British businessman, is recruited by Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) to transport top-secret information from the Soviet Union to London. Wynne’s Soviet contact is Oleg “Alex” Penkovsky, a military intelligence colonel privy to the Soviet Union’s plans to put missiles in Cuba. As the two men work together for the good of the world, they run the risk of imprisonment, execution, and losing their families to the cause.
Many of my favorite films are based on real events (The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio; Catch Me if You Can; October Sky; Hacksaw Ridge), and The Courier easily sits among them in good company. From the very beginning, I liked Wynne, and as his character developed throughout the film, I only liked him more – he was brave, dedicated, and genuine (or, at least as genuine as you can be when you are secretly working for MI6). Benedict Cumberbatch played Wynne excellently, and seemling portrayed Wynne’s transformation from a nervous amateur into a seasoned courier with ease.
In general, the film was a treat from the acting to the costuming to the snippets of Russian music that played in the background. My only fault with the film is that, while it discussed the Missile Crisis and its possible, deadly consequences, the urgency of the situation and the fear it caused didn’t seem to be represented to the extent that I thought they would be – but, having not lived through the event myself, perhaps my expectations and perceptions are skewed.
A film for low-key history enthusiasts (as I’m sure some liberties were taken during filming, as they usually are), The Courier is one I will happily watch again.
Overall Rating: A-