An ordinary spy deftly manages to thwart the set figures [critique]

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An Ordinary Spy (The Courier)
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Benedict Cumberbatch plays a spy at the heart of this film, which is inspired by a real Cold War mission.

First titled iron barkthen The Courierin VO, An ordinary spy is carried by Benedict Cumberbatch. The famous interpreter of Sherlock and Doctor Strange finds for the occasion the playwright and director Dominic Cooke, who had already filmed him in the mini-series The Hollow Crown for the BBC, in 2016, more precisely for its last part devoted to Richard III. With this project, he also confirms his taste for spy stories, after being acclaimed for The molein 2011, and Imitation Gamein 2014. As the film arrives tonight on television, encrypted on Canal +, we are republishing our review.

The film tells the true story of Greville Wynne, a simple representative in appearance, who will be hired by the CIA to enter the USSR to try to obtain information on the Soviet nuclear program. A spy film set in the middle of the Cold War, therefore: precisely at the beginning of the 1960s, just before the Cuban missile crisis. The video, with a classic but effective editing, insists on the fact that this man will put his life in danger, just like that of his source, Oleg Penkovsky alias ”Ironbark” (played by Merab Ninidze, a Georgian comedian seen in particular in Homeland and Jupiter’s moon). Equipped with a “story line” catchy and carried by talented actors (Rachel Brosnahan and Jessie Buckley are also in the game), An ordinary spy was well received by the editorial staff.

Here is the review of First : The promo praises not only the authenticity of this story but also its “incredible” aspect. Here we are, however, in front of a plot of espionage after all quite banal, with its Cold War in the background and Russians who roll their eyes and frown eternally replaying the verse of the mysterious enemy. And yet, the film skillfully manages to thwart the imposed figures with the help of a hushed staging. This one is signed by a man of theater and opera who transforms this game of spies into a queer love parade where the touches are as many risks taken by individuals engaged voluntarily in a dangerous dance. Benedict Cumberbatch embodies with all the necessary fragility and aplomb a British sales representative sent to the front to extract information from a mole (Merba Ninidze, already spotted in The Bridge of Spies) to thwart a nuclear war.

A big thank you to Claire, our great third-year intern, for her research on the film.

Imitation Game: 10 things to know about Alan Turing and Bletchley Park Benedict Cumberbatch: “Initially, the studio wanted me to keep my English accent in Doctor Strange”

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