Director Zackary Adler returns to the big screen with an intelligent action thriller...
Director Zackary Adler returns to the big screen with an intelligent action thriller with high production values befitting of an impressive cast, including that of the British star, Gary Oldman and Olga Kurylenko who has carved an impressive career playing female-action characters. In the last ten years Adler has been quietly building a transatlantic film CV, and is best known in the UK for his low-fi gangster films, The Rise of the Krays (2015), The Fall of the Krays (2016) and more recently, Rise of the Footsoldier 3: The Pat Tate Story (2017). THE COURIER though, marks a slight shift for Adler, away from violent, male muscle to a female-action thriller that plays with gender stereotypes and dynamics common in the genre. The result is a tense, well-paced film, that delivers on combat spectacle and reaches in places for the operatic in terms of a visual narrative. There’s something grandiose about the film’s ambitions.
What follows then is a bloody and brutal game of cat and mouse...
The plot follows a secretive motorcycle courier (Olga Kurylenko), set up as the perpetrator of an assassination attempt on a protected witness, Nick (Amit Shah), who is being transported to give evidence against the major crime figure, Ezekial Mannings (Gary Oldman). Mannings has infiltrated the service protecting Nick and planted his own men in the team, led by Agent Bryant (William Mosely of the Narnia Chronicles and The Royals fame). When the courier realises the extent of the deception, she fights back to protect herself and Nick. But what Bryant doesn’t realise, and what the audience learn as the plot unfurls is the courier’s secret past, which as all good action films demonstrate, places the courier as the said spanner-in-the-works for both Bryant and for Mannings’ orchestrated ‘not guilty’ plan.
What follows then is a bloody and brutal game of cat and mouse between the odd couple, the courier and Nick, and Manning’s trained operatives, played out in a succession of elaborately choregraphed and increasingly spectacular, combat sequences. If you’ve ever wondered what use a windscreen wiper can be in a tight spot, the film has a suggestion for you. The film weaves its way through double-crosses with more than a splash of humour and ends on a somewhat lighter and enticing tone, reminiscent of Guy Ritchie’s British films of the 90s, that teases a possible sequel.
Kurylenko brings her vast cinematic action experience to the film as the kickass female...
While this may not be for everybody, the film benefits from an impressive cast and an underlying conceit of generating tension and action in a single space, namely an underground parking lot. This is not an easy strategy for any film and indicates a desire for creative play with genre. Kurylenko brings her vast cinematic action experience to the film as the kickass female who can take the punishment and while it would have been easy for Oldman to phone in his performance, he musters enough dastardly to his crime lord to inject a hint of malevolence to proceedings. Oldman delivers with relish. The film doesn’t always achieve its ambitions and it takes time to find its groove. But the film makes the most of its soundtrack and creates enough tension to keep you watching. If you love out-and-out genre films, THE COURIER is for you. It’s just disappointing it has a limited theatrical release.
THE COURIER is in Cinemas and on Demand 20 December 2019.
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