7.5/10 I recently saw some actors in an interview get asked what genre of film had been overdone the most today. What genre were they sick of and wished Hollywood could at least take a year or two off from making films in that specific genre. It got me thinking and since I see every film I can, I’d say I am pretty qualified to answer. After some debate my answer has to be the war genre wheelhouse. There is just such an oversaturation of films in that time period (particularly WWII) that I am frankly sick of them. This is coming from a Marine who enjoys history and war films, too. I feel like I’ve seen every story from major, war related events on the big screen before which is why I was so impressed with “The Courier”. Not only was this a true story involving the Cold War, but I had never heard of it and it made me forget about my desire to not watch period set war films for a while. Luckily for the audience and I, we were able to learn about a British spy and his Russian source, set up my MI6 and the CIA to try to stop the Cuban Missile Crisis from escalating. The story is fascinating and perhaps in British schools they teach it, but as an American I was completely unfamiliar. I’m glad the trailer didn’t give the second half of the film away, as this film takes some turns that I didn’t expect to happen. Benedict Cumberbatch as the lead reminds us that outside of him casting spells as Doctor Strange, he is an extremely talented actor and this is yet another mesmerizing performance from him. The supporting cast is great too with Merab Ninidze as the Russian asset and rising star Jessie Buckley as Cumberbatch’s wife. The production design and costume design both flawlessly recreate the time period of the early 1960s. Screenwriter Tom O’Connor wisely adds a subplot with Cumberbatch’s marriage that I am assuming wasn’t part of the film’s true story but that felt critical because it gave Buckley’s character a much more layered role than just a plain, housewife. The pacing works well as the film comes in at just under two hours but you are entertained and enthralled the entire time. As for my mild complaints, while I loved the use of “Swan Lake”, the film’s score was a bit underwhelming for me and for a story about spying and espionage, I felt like there could have been more edge of your seat suspense. There were a couple of quick moments of suspense but it felt like a lost opportunity to ratchet that up. That being said, Cumberbatch’s dedication, the strong script, incredible true story and learning about a fascinating part of history make this a message worth receiving. A must watch for history buffs and fans of amazing true stories.

#ForTheWynne / #DontHaveOlegToStandOn / #SpiesInDisguise2 / #CubanMissileCrisisInSixScenes / #ImThinkingOfEndingTheColdWar / #WarSource

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