Benedict Cumberbatch’s British salesman turned Cold War spy Grenville Wynne and Merab Ninidze’s Soviet officer Oleg Penkovsky form an unlikely alliance in this true-life spy film in which the two work together passing trade secrets through to MI-6 and the CIA in the hopes of avoiding nuclear catastrophe during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The film’s understated and finely crafted style, while appropriate given it is a realistic and historical spy film, regrettably leaves the proceedings without the depth and tension necessary to make the film as engaging as one hope’s it would be.
Exceptional night shots, a noticeable score by Poland’s Abel Korzeniowski, pleasant location shooting and emotional performances by Cumberbatch as Wynne, Rachel Brosnahan as CIA agent Emily Donovan and Jessie Buckley as Grenville’s wife Shelia. Dominic Cooke will also be on my radar as a director to keep an eye on from here on out.
Overall, a good historical spy film that narrowly misses the mark as a bonafide thriller and likewise on greatness. Recommended.
Rated PG-13 for violence, partial nudity, brief strong language, and smoking throughout. While not a family film due to occasional moderate violence and because of its genre overall, its PG-13 rating is certainly a softer PG-13. The nudity in the film is not sexual, and language is highly infrequent. Overall fine for teens and up.
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