By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
is a fine actor who can light up the screen whether he’s playing a famous mathematician (“The Imitation Game”), a genetically engineered superhuman (“Star Trek Into Darkness”), a neurosurgeon/sorcerer (“Dr. Strange”) or even an unassuming businessman turned spy like the one he portrays in his latest movie, “The Courier”
from director Dominic Cooke
(“The Hollow Crown”).
“The Courier,” from director Dominic Cooke
(“The Hollow Crown”) is loosely based on a true story involving Greville Wynne (Cumberbatch), a relatively quiet and unassuming British business and family man who is coaxed and recruited by Secret Intelligence Service operative Emily Donovan (Rachel Brosnahan, “I’m Your Woman” and TV’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) and acquaintance Dickie Franks (Angus Wright, TV’s “The Witches”).
They want Greville to deliver classified messages from secret agent Oleg Penkovsky (a terrific Merab Ninidze, “Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse”) to them to help thwart a nuclear confrontation and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Once Greville decides to go all in, he uses his charming personality to win over Penkovsky and the two become strange bedfellows.
Surely Greville knew the risks involved in this covert Cold War operation and that his wife Sheila (Jessie Buckley, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” and TV’s “Fargo”) and young son Andrew (Keir Hills, “Vodafone: Raising Voices-Dc”) would at some point pay a price when things go awry.
They do go awry.
While “The Courier” doesn’t have the flash and dash of a James Bond spy thriller, it does have Cumberbatch and he anchors it well. Wondering who will blink or make the first misstep is what ratchets up the tension in this dramatic thriller.
"The Courier" opens in theaters on March 19.
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Watch This Trailer For "THE COURIER"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.