Christian Bale lost 27 kilograms for his role in The Machinist (2004), while 50 Cent lost 23 kilograms in All Things Fall Apart (2011). The numbers are not much different, but when the first case produces a legendary story about the totality of actors, the second case tends to be forgotten. All back to the film.
In The Courier, which is based on a true story about a businessman recruited as an MI6 secret agent, Benedict Cumberbatch has lost about 10 kilograms. But his name is not widely discussed in the award event betting market. It’s not the actor’s fault, because this film, while still worthy of being called “well-made”, is easily forgotten, sinking among other, more superior titles. Best Movie Site
In the midst of the Cold War crisis, the CIA and MI6 need to extract information about the Soviet Union’s nuclear program from Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze), a member of the GRU (Soviet military intelligence) who wants to defect. Because sending agents is considered risky, Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) is recruited, who often travels abroad to run a business. Wynne was asked to be an information courier, under the guise of doing business with Penkovsky. Top Movie
Cumberbatch only appears with a bald head and a pathetic emaciated body when the story enters its final half, but that’s not a problem, because he offers more than just a physical transformation. Thanks to a combination of dramatic acting and a bit of comic timing, Cumberbatch performed beautifully to bring to life individuals who are trapped in a lot of ignorance and surprise. A man who is involved in a dangerous mission for the sake of his family, but who has the potential to lose them (both because of the Soviet threat, and his past sins).
For Cumberbatch, espionage thrillers set in the Cold War are nothing new. He previously appeared in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), which is arguably an “advanced treat” in the genre. On the other hand, The Courier is “ground level”. Compared to many of his peers, this film by director Dominic Cooke is friendlier to a wider audience.
The feel is not too “cold”, the plot is not complicated, and the tempo is not too slow (even including fast, for example when Cooke raises tension through fast cut, to illustrate if the Soviet Union had spies all over the country). The Courier was Cold War espionage for the common people.
Walking on the safe line is the goal of this film. It can be seen from the message that is trying to convey, about how an ordinary people can change the course of history. The script by Tom O’Connor (The Hitman’s Bodyguard) presents heroism, as if ignoring the bigger picture, about the government (any country) that is less concerned about the safety of those who have contributed to them. Slightly alluded to, but not sharply, and seeming coy.
Even though it never hits the point of highest intensity, because there are no moments where the protagonist is really on the edge (except the turning point in the final half of course), The Courier will not be boring, because the packaging is relatively light. But after a few days (or even hours), you may have forgotten the details. Movie Review