There’s a picture headed your way that should hopefully draw a lot of buzz, and Lionsgate and sister company Roadside Attractions have announced an August 28 release. Having screened at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival with the title Ironbark, this thrilling, true story will now release as The Courier, and this should be an end-of-summer winner.
Directed by Dominic Cooke, of the woefully overlooked On Chesil Beach, and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, The Courier is the story of British businessman Greville Wynne who was recruited into one of the greatest international conflicts in history.
The story here follows Wynne who, working with MI-6 and a CIA operative (Rachel Brosnahan), cultivates a covert partnership with Soviet officer Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) in an effort to acquire intelligence with an aim toward defusing the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Shadowy, spy efforts that don’t focus on a lot of action haven’t recently been quite the draw they once were, but this one has a lot of “behind-the-scenes” sells to it in addition to the already critically-acclaimed performance by Cumberbatch. BAFTA® nominee Sean Bobbitt (12 YEARS A SLAVE) is director of photography, and not only did he also work on On Chesil Beach with Cooke, but he was recently DP on Steve McQueen’s Widows. Though not the sort of film that receives accolades for its look, it’s a more comparable effort when it comes to the cinematography effort, and it’s brilliantly shot.
The Courier also boasts Oscar® nominees in Production Design – Suzie Davies (Mr. Turner) – and Editing – Tariq Anwar (The King’s Speech). Also, possibly my personal favorite as a draw, BAFTA® nominee Abel Korzeniowski is the composer on the film and he is one of the most underrated, or at least underappreciated composers working today. He’s been nominated for BAFTA® (Nocturnal Animals) and Golden Globes (A Single Man, W.E.), but his other work is also amazing, including 2013’s Romeo & Juliet and Penny Dreadful. Frankly, I am not one to often be won over by composers, and I’m sure few people decide they must catch a film because a certain composer is on board, but he has won me over.
As people look toward theaters reopening, mega-blockbusters are likely to have even more of an advantage, but I’m hoping gems like this will be able to see an advantage as well, but things obviously need to be done with an eye toward safety. Roadside co-presidents Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff similarly expressed that, “Theaters have indicated gradual openings this summer, with health and safety guiding the way. If everything proceeds favorably, we feel the true spy thriller THE COURIER, with a must-see performance by Benedict Cumberbatch, is just the type of film that will have audiences excited to return to their local cinemas in late August.”
Keep an eye out for this one, and more news related to the release.