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Recommended age 14-18
111 minutes
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COURIER, THE cover image Click to play video trailer
I absolutely love the movie The Courier directed by Dominic Cooke. It focuses on the efforts of the detective, private investigator or amateur sleuth to solve the mysterious circumstances of an issue by means of clues, investigation, and clever deduction. I really enjoyed watching The Courier, and, as my first time watching a true-life spy thriller, I found it very interesting.

The Courier is a true-life spy thriller, the story of an unassuming British businessman Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) recruited into one of the greatest international conflicts in history. At the behest of the United Kingdom's MI-6 and a CIA operative (Rachel Brosnahan), Greville forms a covert, dangerous partnership with Soviet officer Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) in an effort to provide crucial intelligence needed to prevent a nuclear confrontation and defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis.

This is a slow-burning film about the friendship that then blossoms between these two men as they routinely risk their lives for the greater good. There's an earnest, well-intentioned message about wider political change starting on a smaller scale, too. It's a timely concept, but the underdeveloped bond between Greville and Alex failed to grab me with quite the force that the filmmakers intended, given where the plot takes them and us. Greville Wynne is my favorite character because he is a hero, and a humble one at that. Although the thrills and intrigue of his story aren't that remarkable, it's the time he spends in a Russian prison accused of spying for the West that sets him back. Greville Wayne is perfect for the mission: He's fleet but not flashy, charming but not memorable, and dependable but unremarkable in every way. Benedict Cumberbatch proves yet again he's a star, and Merab Ninidze is equally brilliant at his Russian counterpart. That's not always an easy balance to strike, but it makes The Courier incredibly entertaining while not losing sight of the real people who risked their lives in the Cold War. It's definitely worth checking out, and I can see it catching on with audiences. The production design, costumes and cinematography are on point and very well executed.

This film tells the kind of true story that filmmakers crave, the kind that exists on the periphery of a major historical event, switching its focus to a more human angle. Its closest sibling would be Spielberg's Bridge of Spies. The story at its center is a fascinating one that theatre director Dominic Cooke steers credibly.

I give The Courier 4 out of 5 stars and recommend this thriller movie for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. The Courier will be available on Netflix beginning Friday, March 19, 2021. Save the date!< p>By Josephine M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

The Courier is a historical fiction movie that perfectly captures the events of the threat of a nuclear weapon attack that took place back in the 1960s. While this is based on a real event that happened, the people that worked on this movie used their creative license to their advantage resulting in a riveting film.

The Courier is about a British businessman named Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) who is enlisted to go undercover to get intelligence on a nuclear missile attack that's being plotted against Cuba. Under the leadership of Emily Donovan (Rachel Brosnahan) and Dickie Franks (Angus Wright), he forms an alliance with Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze). Together, they try to stop the planned nuclear weapon attacks.

The Courier is a very unique film that really dives deep into the topic it's discussing, the threat of nuclear attacks on Cuba. It is based on an actual historical event, known as the "Cuban Missile Crisis." When I looked up the historical images of Greville Wynne and Oleg Penkovsky I was surprised that Benedict Cumberbatch and Merab Ninidze look so similar to them. Major props to Alena Garetovskaya, Lucy Amos and the rest of the casting team. Although there are points in the film where I couldn't make out what they were saying, the emotional impact of what is going on is definitely clear. For instance, the scenes towards the end where Greville is in jail and has a conversation with his wife Sheila (Jessie Buckley). Benedict and Jessie both convey their disappointment and tiny ray of hope that both of their characters have. The setting of this film, which is dark and grey, makes the story seem very authentic, because the topic is very dark and dangerous with almost an ominous feel. My favorite part of this film is when Oleg and Greville go see the ballet, Swan Lake. Greville is obviously very moved by the performance to the point that he is crying. The Courier is supposed to be a serious and momentous film and for the most part, it is, but that scene made me laugh.

The message of The Courier is to never stop fighting for what you believe in, no matter who tries to tell you otherwise. Oleg knew that he would be arrested and executed if he got caught learning and transporting information about the attack. Greville knew that leaving Oleg to take all the fault and retribution wasn't the right thing to do. Everyone told them that these weren't good ideas and that they would be in too deep. But did that stop them? No. They decided to do what they knew was right, and take the risk. There are some mature and gory scenes along with suggestive language in this film, which explains its PG-13 rating.

I rate The Courier 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. The Courier is opens in theaters March 19, 2021. If you love learning about history, and love a good thriller, hurry and get your tickets!

By Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

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The true story of a British businessman unwittingly recruited into one of the greatest international conflicts in history. Forming an unlikely partnership with a Soviet officer hoping to prevent a nuclear confrontation, the two men work together to provide the crucial intelligence used to defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis.
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