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The Courier

✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

United Kingdom

2021

Rated PG-13 • 1h 52m

Director Dominic Cooke

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Merab Ninidze, Rachel Brosnahan, Jessie Buckley

Genre Thriller, Drama, History

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Cold War spy Greville Wynne and his Russian source try to put an end to the ended the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

70

Film Threat by Alan Ng

Benedict Cumberbatch proves yet again he’s a star and Merab Ninidze is equally brilliant at his Russian counterpart.
70

Slashfilm by Ben Pearson

A triumphant, inspiring movie about the heroism of human decency, Ironbark is a rock solid spy drama that, if it came out 20 years ago, would have easily become a mainstay on TNT or TBS. Hollywood doesn’t make movies like this very often anymore, and if does prove to be part of a last gasp of character-focused period thrillers, at least the genre is going out with some style.
60

The Guardian by Benjamin Lee

There’s a whiff of familiarity haunting almost every scene and while it would have been rewarding to see Cooke and O’Conner take a few chances or add some more emotional depth, it’s a satisfying enough watch, best viewed with little investment and low expectations.
58

IndieWire by David Ehrlich

A confident, entertaining, and well-upholstered historical spy thriller about a regular guy who stumbles his way toward saving the world, it’s the perfect movie for anyone who watched “Bridge of Spies” and thought: “If only that had been 30 minutes shorter, a bit less artful, and a lot more British.”
75

The Playlist by Gregory Ellwood

Dominic Cooke’s Ironbark is blessed with fantastic turns from Benedict Cumberbatch, Jessie Buckley and Rachel Brosnahan to up the stakes and make it all feel a bit fresher than it actually is.
75

Entertainment Weekly by Leah Greenblatt

Ironbark might not be a great film in the end, but it is a satisfying good one — a story that’s at its best when it colors outside the black and white (or Communist red, as it were) lines of war and hones in on the real, fallible men and women who fight it, one quiet inglorious step at a time.
60

Variety by Peter Debruge

Ironbark’s hook is that it’s based on true events, and the underlying history deserves to be shared.
60

Screen Daily by Tim Grierson

This spy drama is bolstered by Benedict Cumberbatch’s stripped-down performance, and there’s plenty of pungent Cold War suspense to savour. And yet, Ironbark feels like a bit of a missed opportunity: The earnestness doesn’t necessarily do justice to the inherently absorbing material.

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