Benedict Cumberbatch was widely praised for his performance in this film, which has ben given ratings averaging 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. Apparently he lost 21 pounds before filming and this helped him to emotionally prepare for the role. It is the true story of the British businessman, Greville Wynne, who was unwittingly recruited into one of the greatest international conflicts in history. Forming an unlikely partnership with a Soviet officer hoping to prevent a nuclear confrontation, the two men work together to provide the crucial intelligence used to defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis.
When he is recruited by MI6 in 1960s to infiltrate the Soviet nuclear programme, Wynne finds himself at the centre of one of the most historical Cold War moments. After a few months of working with his Soviet counterpart Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) – a decorated Soviet war hero disenchanted by the current regime – Wynne quickly forms a lasting bond with him and hopes to help his new friend defect to the West with his family. Caught in a game of cat and mouse with the KGB, Wynne and Penkovsky find themselves in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Meanwhile, as he scrambles to end his mission in the East and return home, Wynne is caught between wanting to do the right thing by his friend and escaping to safety to his own family.
Cumberbatch and Georgian actor Ninidze play off brilliantly against one another, delivering two stunning and genuinely touching performances. Elsewhere, Mrs Maisel star Rachel Brosnahan is impalpable in the role of American intelligence agent Emily Donovan, and Jesse Buckley delivers yet another stellar performance as Wynne’s long suffering wife Sheila.
Overall, this is a gorgeously written, heartfelt and gripping story of heroism and friendship which is further elevated by two extraordinary central performances and Cooke’s impressive storytelling. A genuinely touching film about friendship, honour and the importance of standing up for one’s principles no matter what.
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