wed 15/07/2020

The Courier review – lacklustre hit job goes bad in every way | reviews, news & interviews

The Courier review – lacklustre hit job goes bad in every way

The Courier review – lacklustre hit job goes bad in every way

Gary Oldman and Olga Kurylenko breed no life into bland chase thriller

Slumping to a new low: Gary Oldman in 'The Courier'

The Courier is a split entity that comprises two interlinked parts. One half involves a silent Gary Oldman who occasionally becomes hysterically enraged, the other a furious Olga Kurylenko who is never allowed a moment of silence. Director Zackary Adler perhaps aimed for contrast, maybe even balance, with this ill foray into the hit job thriller, but he’s ended up with confusion and lifelessness.

Sinister veteran killer Ezekiel Mannings (Gary Oldman) faces trial and has planned to kill the only living witness to his crimes before the testimony is given. A motorbiked hitwoman, aka “the courier” (Olga Kurylenko), is sent unawares to deliver the cyanide bomb that will do the job. Mayhem ensues when an in-on-the-job undercover agent tries to kill the courier. Fleeing the scene, she strangely decides to save the intended victim. Mannings immediately sends a squad to take them both down, and the film shifts into an escape mission. From here the bulk of the action takes place in a dim carpark as dimmer-witted goons endlessly point their rifles under cars looking for the runaways.Olga Kurylenko in The CourierWhat follows is an inane compilation of shooting and shouting. Mannings spends most of the film sitting down with his eyes closed listening to opera in his Manhattan flat. Gary Oldman has literally slumped to his career low. His performance and the stupid mob of goons make for a limp and tensionless attempt at on-off drama. Vacant filler moments take the place of necessary scenes, including one in which Mannings’ scheming daughter – who we’re supposed to believe is a mysterious and complex character – taunts a bodyguard with her affected pouty appeal and inherited power.

The Courier is an incomparably bad film. The plot is nonsensical, the script vapid, the acting lethargic, the production utterly valueless. The gut punch is that the film seems proud of all this, and of the assaults it makes on its audience. Maybe it’s one of those bad films that will become trendy to ironically admire. With the thrust of the new decade, let’s instead wish bye-bye to this stuff, and hope corporate Hollywood can strive for a pass at self-respect.

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