Review: Benedict Cumberbatch Is a Spy With Soul in The CourierBut He's Not the Only Reason to Watch
Brought to you by audible benedict. Cumberbatch is a spy with seoul in the courier. But he's not the only reason to watch by stephanie's jaric the trappings of spycraft. We see in the movies. The tiny cameras. The furtive codewords uttered into payphones. The trench coated figures darting about in the shadows are now so familiar that they come across as anything but secretive but in real life spy has to merge into his or her surroundings like a whisper. You couldn't cast a more convincing spy than benedict cumberbatch. A star whose chief attribute is an aura of charming anonymity. It's not that he's drably a noticeable in simply that his charisma is less bright gold than burnished bronze he's discretion personified with a dash of saf off. Air is is the face of a man who keeps his secrets. Close to the vest and would button yours and even closer in the courier which is based on a true story. Cumberbatch place a businessman who ferried secrets between great britain and the then soviet union during the cold war grell win an engineer and a family man. Recruited by m. I six in nineteen sixty to connect with a member of russian military intelligence named oleg penkovsky. Here played by superb. George an actor mihrab nitsa who alarmed by leaning. Tensions between the ussr and the west had offered secret information about his country's nuclear capabilities. When didn't know exactly what information he was carrying but his mission was still extremely dangerous. In the second half of the courier details the price he ultimately paid until that point. The courier has a jaunty largish quality when gravel is i approached by a cia. And an m. I six agent working in tandem played by rachel brosnahan and angus right. He's more amused than bemused by their poker faced professionalism their aims disguised by almost comically vague language. I can't believe i'm actually having lunch with spies. He says looking from one to the other as if he's already weaving a story to tell his wife sheila a marvelously ri- and subtle. Jessie buckley at the dinner table. That won't come to pass. Rebel is sworn to secrecy though. His mission at first only involves traveling to russia to meet with a group of businessmen and make contact with petkovski whom he'll come to know as alex. The mission seems harmless enough until these pressed into service for further trips bringing top secret information back with them over several visits and one in which alex comes to england the two men get to know one another and become friends gravel and sheila have a son and alex has a family to a wife and a daughter before long gravel has been drawn in both by the sober necessity of his mission. His handlers have scared him manipulative. -ly with horror stories about what would happen to his family in the event of a nuclear attack and by his loyalty to olympics when he's told he's no longer needed a withdrawal. That would leave. Alex dangling with no way to defect to the west with his family. An escape the c. I. a. and m. i. Six had promised to effect. He begs his handlers to let him return to russia. One last time a trip that twists the story into more bre corners directed by dominic cooke and written by. Tom o'connor the courier is almost two films in one. The second half is much darker and more intense than the first but the shift is so delicately abrupt that it i you barely register it. That's part of the movies edge. Really engaging artistry what begins as a shadowy spy adventure ends in a place of mournful resignation. The movie is honest about the decidedly unglamorous side of spying chiefly that it's a line of work in which human beings are often treated as easily discarded pawns and beyond its depiction of the usual spy stuff including those many cameras about the size of disposable lighter which somehow even in an era of digital information still feel small and dangerous. The pictures sober mood is embedded and it's images and a pivotal scene. Alex brings gravel to a performance of swan lake in moscow cinematographer sean bobbitt pits the expressive brightness of the dancers onstage against the tension around tight in grumbles heart which shows on his face in a few discreet but fervent tears an englishman's tears which are either a cliche or one of the deepest expressions of human feeling depending perhaps on. Who's doing the crying when it's cumberbatch. Those tears are deeply believable. Though it's nitsa who sneaks off with the movie in its as list of imdb credits many of them. European english and american tv series is long and he had a starring role and caroline links. Two thousand one drama nowhere in africa overall for purposes. It appears that he's a reliable goto when you need a serious looking russian guy as if there were any other kind but his performance in the courier made me hope to see more of them. In the movies and bigger roles as alex penkovsky he carries infinite gradations of feeling in his eyes. We see his anxiety for his family his sense of responsibility about preventing nuclear destruction but also has tangled love for his country when gravel asks him wear if he were to defect he might like to live. He says montana. he's seen pictures of it. And it reminds him of the countryside he grew up as an examines facets of betrayal and loyalty the courier speaks most directly through. Nasa's is they tell us what it means to love a place that has betrayed you place on the map. 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