Film Reviews Cat

The Courier (2020)


A spy movie about the Cold War in which a regular businessman gets the opportunity to get involved in an espionage operation.

I absolutely love the premise of this movie because it is about an average person that somehow gets involved into this spy network. Moreover, the fact that it is based on a true story makes it even more intriguing. And It is nice to see a movie which feels a little like the series “Cambridge Spies” (2003) because lately that specific genre became almost extinct. Yes, there are other spy movies out there, but they are not the kind with this “Cambridge Spies” vibe. I am not saying that “The Courier” is as good as “Cambridge Spies” because the latter is simply perfect (as far as I can remember). However, it certainly has this English sense of thriller, and mystery to it. That being said, this movie has many issues and this might be partially because of the Covid-19 situation. However I really believe that one should be honest about things and simply say what is exactly wrong, so here we go.

Firstly, the opening felt unrealistic because all the characters felt like they were dressed for a stage theater play. The two CIA agents looked like extremely badly dressed characters that were fake. And I am talking about fake in the sense of spoof/parody looking. Yes, all of the actors look like you are watching a weird parody. In the beginning I was thinking that this was a specific style. However, quickly I started to question this because it looked awfully fake to the point that it was hurting my eyes. The same can also be said about most of the acting because all the non-Russian actors were simply bad to the point that it was just unrealistic. It is extremely weird to see a cast split into two groups and one group is performing flat and melodramatically while the other (Russian speakers) are doing a great job. Why didn’t they coordinate this better? Why does everything look so unrealistic and weird? There are so many questions that I want to ask that I don’t even know where to start from. Maybe it is the setting, and set design that are the main issue. And I understand that we live in difficult times, but please don’t use cheap CGI, or other bad quality techniques that have to convince the audience that it is the Cold War era. The golden rule is as follows; if it doesn’t look good then leave it out. 

However, an hour into this movie it becomes more interesting because of the rising action. If it wasn’t for this, and the writing then I would have seriously regretted picking this movie to review. Therefore, I am really happy that at least the script is really good and that the Mise-en-scène was decent (excluding CGI). And towards the end it even gets a little emotional which was nice. This was something that I didn’t suspect at all from this movie because I thought that this would be more of a traditional English spy film. Overall, I think that “The Courier” is an interesting movie. And it definitely deserves my respect because it is based on a true story. However, from a creative perspective I hoped that the Mise-en-scène, and props would have looked better. Additionally, the English speaking actors also didn’t deliver. Meaning; that it is extremely weird to watch a serious event unfold while some actors look, and act as if they are a parody character. Basically this entire movie feels unbalanced. And I am still not sure how serious we, as the audience, should take this movie. We can blame the pandemic for some of the setting issues. However, at the end of the day we all want to see a good product, and not something weak and awkward.

Directed by 

Dominic Cooke(directed by)

Writing Credits  

Tom O’Connor(written by)


Vladimir ChuprikovNikita Khrushchev
Merab NinidzeOleg Penkovsky
James SchofieldCox
Fred HaigLee
Emma PenzinaNina
Mariya MironovaVera (as Maria Mironova)
Rachel BrosnahanEmily Donovan
Anton LesserBertrand
Angus WrightDickie Franks
Benedict CumberbatchGreville Wynne

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