The Courier

Review by Rich Cline | 2/5

The Courier
dir Zackary Adler
scr Zackary Adler, James Edward Barker, Andy Conway, Nicky Tate
prd Andrew Prendergast, Marc Goldberg, David Haring, James Edward Barker
with Olga Kurylenko, Gary Oldman, Amit Shah, William Moseley, Dermot Mulroney, Alicia Agneson, Greg Orvis, Craig Conway, Calli Taylor, Lee Charles, Gordon Alexander, Renars Latkovskis
release US 22.Nov.19,
UK 20.Dec.19
19/UK Signature 1h39

oldman moseley mulroney

kurylenko and shah
So pulsating with intensity that it almost feels like a parody, this thriller builds a meaty, hyper-violent atmosphere out of almost nothing. Boasting colourful cinematography, rapid-fire editing and a throbbing score, it certainly feels like it should be suspenseful, but director Zackary Adler is trying so hard to make something of the thin script that nothing is believable. Impressively, Olga Kurylenko holds it together singlehandedly.
In London, Interpol Agent Simmonds (Agneson) is accompanying witness Nick (Shah) to the courthouse to testify against millionaire slumlord Ezekiel (Oldman), who's under house arrest in New York, plotting with dirty Agent Bryant (Moseley) to take Nick out. He's also using a rogue black-ops Ukrainian biker (Kurylenko), known only as the Courier, without her knowledge. But she throws a wrench into their plan, rescuing Nick. Interpol boss Roberts (Mulroney) is unaware what's actually going on. But Bryant's team is so vicious that the Courier and Nick might never make it out of this parking garage.
Adler deploys every cliche to keep the action at full intensity, distracting from the bare-basic plotting, oddly limited settings and lapses in logic. Dialog is growled, guns wave, motorbikes vroom, blood splatters, things explode, pronouncements are made ("There's nowhere to run!"). The grisliness is off the charts, but skilfully rendered. And the set-up means that Oldman, Moseley and Mulroney filmed most of their scenes alone, edited in later. Still, there is some strong suspense in the final act.

Kurylenko is bursting with attitude and physicality. She's the only person who offers offhanded humour, so her interaction with Shah's panicky Nick holds the story together. Everyone else is overacting for their lives, chomping mercilessly on the scenery. Oldman and Mulroney mainly only shout their lines into a phone, but they still come off better than Moseley, who struggles to generate fury against thin air. At least Oldman's eyepatch lends some absurdity to his scenes.

The movie is essentially a single standoff, with a gang of ruthless goons with big guns taking on a skilled woman and a whimpering young man. There's nothing more to the plot, but it's shot cleverly to obscure the small budget, mixing interior scenes with spectacular cityscapes to imply a global-style thriller. Aside from Kurylenko's steely presence, Adler seems only interested in severe grisliness and macho posturing. If the script had even a hint of character nuance, the movie might have been somewhat gripping too.

cert 18 themes, language, violence 13.Dec.19

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© 2019 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall