Benedict Cumberbatch fans remember watching all of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, or maybe that was just me. The point is he has a certain genre of film. As Collider points out: It’s a Dad Genre. I say this as someone who has watched and enjoyed these “dad” movies. It’s me. I’m dad.
But they’re movies that are either war-adjacent or in a spy realm and don’t seem to be the action-packed life that James Bond exists in. Think more of the intellectual side of being a spy, and with Cumberbatch’s new film The Courier, he’s playing in that same intellectual space and … good.
Centered around businessman Greville Wynne (Cumberbatch), the movie throws him into the KGB world when two spies named Emily Donovan (Rachel Brosnahan) and Dickie Franks (Angus Wright) ask him to help them. In this businessman-turned-informant for MI6 and the CIA drama, it seems as if everyone’s dad and my college self are going to love it.
To be honest, this is the space that best fits Cumberbatch. While I loved him as Sherlock Holmes in the BBC show Sherlock and tolerate his Stephen Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he works best in these period pieces, mainly because Cumberbatch’s wit is more … “old-timey.” Basically, I think someone went back in time and plucked Cumberbatch out of the 50s-70s (depending) and just threw him into movies before putting him back.
What fascinates me about this trailer, though, is how it seems to also be a bit light-hearted? Which is strange since the movie is set during the Cold War and partially in Russia? Premiering at Sundance last year before the end of times, it seems as if this balance is part of the film’s charm, which … okay. I was already here for whatever this is, but if it is somewhat fun while being a spy thriller, then I’m SUPER into it.
The official synopsis for The Courier is here:
“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 UK’s MI-6 and a CIA operative (Rachel Brosnahan), he 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.”
Is this another entry into the Benedict Cumberbatch slow burn historical genre? Yes, most definitely. And that’s fine—hopefully not as long as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy felt, though. Benedict Cumberbatch in The Current War and The Imitation Game is the far superior Cumberbatch genre in my humble opinion, so I’ll take all these weird “dad” genre movies from him.
Especially if there are spies and Rachel Brosnahan.
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