Ironbark (2020)

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Ironbark: Directed by Dominic Cooke. With Vladimir Chuprikov, Merab Ninidze, James Schofield, Fred Haig. Cold War spy Greville Wynne and his Russian source try to put an end to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

“Benedict Cumberbatchu0026#39;s best performance to date, which makes it one of the greatest acting performances period. His startling physical transformations, spot-on dialogue delivery, and appropriately subtle and highly-effective character manifestations (heu0026#39;s a spy not a Hollywood super-hero for those hung up on the film not emulating Bond or Bourne u0026quot;big momentu0026quot; scenes), are all testimony to his commitment to the acting craft. He once again proves why he is (simply-put) one of this erau0026#39;s greatest actors.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThis role should garner award nominations across the spectrum of such ceremonies for Benedict.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe Courier is well above average as espionage films go – subtle pacing actually magnifies tension in the story – the most elemental fuel for any thriller.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eNo spy film is better at emotionally connecting the viewer with the lead character – painting an accurate portrayal of both a spyu0026#39;s methodology, and the inevitable inner conflicts and angst involved in the job, and in oneu0026#39;s personal life. This unique trait elevates the film.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe Director maintains a refreshingly low-key atmosphere in scenes, befitting the u0026quot;trade-craftu0026quot; of espionage that thrives on innocuous and concealing behavior (rather than the overly dramatic big moments too often leaned upon in blockbuster spy films). None of that nonsense would actually occur as spies would bring too much attention to themselves – a sure way of having a short career and brief lifespan.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThis is a spotlight film role carried by Benedict, but a film of this immense achievement does not occur without similarly great performances by the supporting cast.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eMerab Ninidze hits one over the Berlin Wall and deserves recognition for his remarkable supporting role performance.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eRachel Brosnahan was spot-on as well, and is clearly on a roll after her deserved critical praise for u0026#39;The Marvelous Mrs. Maiselu0026#39;.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eTom Ou0026#39;Conneru0026#39;s screenplay is brilliant as is Dominic Cookeu0026#39;s directing, and Gareth Scalesu0026#39; editing which somehow brings this fascinating true story to film in under two hours.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe Courier has me once again (u0026#39;Spotlightu0026#39; being the first in 2015) breaking my long standing rule of not putting a film on the Top 100 All Time Greatest list within a year of its release. I often view better films multiple times over the long haul. Some hold up; some gain respect; and some regress. Iu0026#39;m anticipating The Courier will not lose ground over time, and may gain, but we shall see.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003e👍👍”


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