The Courier is one of those films that goes straight to home release/streaming, despite having big hitters in the cast like Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) and Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour), but as well as those two leads, one thing that drew me to this is that it’s an 18-certificate release in a world where there’s so few of those because Hollywood tones things down for a 15-cert all too often.
The BBFC puts this down to “strong bloody violence, injury detail” and that is shown in the opening scene as the unnamed titular courier (Kurylenko) is put through her paces by an unseen and very bad man. From that, it doesn’t take you long to figure out that she’s not just your average zero-hours ‘biker chick’ delivering packages from A to B, or just throwing them over the fence like Hermes… you figure that she also takes people out like an assassin.
The entire first 20 minutes feels like a perfume advert as one set of people go here, another set of people go there, and Olga rides around London a lot.
Nick Murch (Amit Shah) is a witness to a particular crime by Ezekiel Mannings (Oldman). Can Olga help him, or will they all die?
Either way, prepare for silly car chases and some silly gross moments when baddies get run over – although I don’t think it’s that which garnered the 18-cert, as that was a ‘good against bad’ aspect, but he opening scene involves violence against a woman so that would most likely secure the 18. Then again, in fight scenes, she does give as good as she gets.
The violence does get pretty heavy on occasion, so overall, I think it’s high time the BBFC just amalgamate the 15- and 18-certificates, make them 15 overall, and just provide details about the content of the film. That way, no films are censored – at the studio’s request, usually – from an 18 to a 15, and we can all be treated like adults 😀
One thing which highlights the problem with the film is that Nick asks her “Who are you? You’re not just the courier!” and she replies, “It doesn’t matter“. Yep, it’s that kind of a film. Well, to be fair, she does then explain what led her to this point in her life, but to discover that, you’ll have to watch the film yourself. It’s not a major thing, but you’ve got to have something in the plot to look forward to.
I’ll also highlight a moment 86 minutes in where Olga squares up against a baddie, ready to go toe-to-toe with him. There’s a smoke bomb already going off in the scene, but in one of the brief cuts as they go back and forth, the smoke has gone! And then it’s back! What a time to be alive…
This is also a film where Gary Oldman mumbles like he’s living in the Mumbles and has stuck a bag of marbles in his mouth. He also sits out all of the action, shooting most of the scenes in his character’s home. This is why if you want an action movie with Olga that’s better, check out 2015’s Momentum, where she goes up against James Purefoy who gets stuck into the film, rather than sitting on the sidelines and hiring lackeys to do the job.
Oldman most likely shot all his scenes within a day or two, whereas where-did-he-go Dermot Mulroney pops up for even less scenes, as Special Agent Roberts.
In more is the stunning Calli Taylor as Mannings’ daughter, Alys, who doesn’t get much to do beyond a few wisecracks, but her appearance made the film more tolerable.
The Courier technically has a theatrical release on December 20th, but like the aforementioned Momentum, this will only be in London and most likely one cinema for one week. Why? Because that’s all it takes for Mark Kermode et al to review it as a ‘theatrical release’. Pretty much everyone will catch this on Blu-ray, DVD or streaming.
It’s also sold as coming from “The producer of Darkest Hour”, the one for which Oldman won the Oscar. How ironic then that, for me, The Courier is a slightly better film overall. How can that be? Well, you’ll have to read that review to find out.
The Courier is released in cinemas on December 20th, and is available to pre-order on DVD, ahead of its release date on February 3rd 2020.
Running time: 99 minutes
Release date: December 20th 2019
Studio: Signature Entertainment
Director: Zackary Adler
Producers: James Edward Barker, Marc Goldberg, David Haring, Andrew Prendergast
Screenplay: Zackary Adler, James Edward Barker, Andy Conway, Nicky Tate
Music: James Edward Barker, Tim Despic
The Courier: Olga Kurylenko
Ezekiel Mannings: Gary Oldman
Nick Murch: Amit Shah
Agent Simmonds: Alicia Agneson
The Sniper: Greg Orvis
Alys Mannings: Calli Taylor
Agent Parlow: Craig Conway
Agent Bryant: William Moseley
Special Agent Roberts: Dermot Mulroney
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.