The Courier (1 star)

The Courier

Olga Kurylenko can't salvage this poorly written, overly pared-back thriller

With Olga Kurylenko's nameless motorbike courier speeding around night-time London, and Gary Oldman's villainous, eye patch-sporting Ezekiel Mannings simultaneously being arrested in a New York City church, early scenes of The Courier seem to promise a globe-trotting thriller.

Anticipation screeches to a halt, however, when it becomes apparent that the majority of the action will instead take place inside a large car park. Presumably a budgetary concession, this bare-bones approach is employed consistently by director Zackary Adler and his co-writers, who keep character back-stories and plot details to a minimum. Oldman and an overly intense William Moseley suffer most from the terrible dialogue, including a hilariously bizarre line about Joe Biden – indeed, the film is far more entertaining when it doesn't mean to be.

Moseley's Agent Bryant co-ordinates the raid on the parking garage where The Courier finds herself trapped after she's incriminated in an assassination attempt on one Nick Murch (Amit Shah), who is due to video-testify against Mannings. A game Kurylenko offers the odd spark of enjoyment, evidently relishing the opportunity to unleash a slightly feral persona. A special ops military deserter, The Courier is conveniently skilled and resourceful enough to handle the garage lockdown, though understandably struggles to fight through the swath of burly men who are twice her size.

Despite its simplicity, the film has a tendency to insult its audience's intelligence: bad guys have to explain out loud that they can't fit inside a ventilation system; and almost every time the narrative cuts to Mannings – who is under house arrest – an establishing shot of his Manhattan penthouse is provided first, as though Adler expects viewers to continuously forget which building Oldman is chewing scenery from. It kills all momentum – though this ride always seemed doomed to stall anyway.

Limited release from Fri 20 Dec.

The Courier

  • 1 star
  • 2019
  • UK / US
  • 1h 39min
  • 18
  • Directed by: Zackary Adler
  • Cast: Olga Kurylenko, Gary Oldman, Amit Shah
  • UK release: 20 December 2019

A nameless London motorbike courier (Kurylenko) finds herself incriminated in an assassination attempt against a witness, and is trapped in a garage. Terrible dialogue and dumb characterisations aren’t redeemed by Kurylenko’s game performance, and it remains at a stall throughout.