This is a brilliant film. It is the true story of an apparently ordinary English businessman Greville Wynne who is recruited by MI6 to act as the courier for the information passed on by a high ranking Russian official, Penkovsky.
The story is the story of their friendship and the drama centres around the Cuban missile crisis at the start of the 1960s.
The film gives a very vivid sense of the very real threat of nuclear war. Penkovsky betrays his nation because he doesn’t want Kruschev, to lead the world into disaster.
On the one hand, it’s a huge story of forces on a world scale but on the other hand, it’s simply the story of two men who become friends, whose courage changes the world.
‘Maybe we are only two people’ says Penkovsky ‘but this is how things change’.
The price they both pay and the courage they both show is inspirational. You can’t help thinking, would I be that brave? The horror and the inhumanity of the KGB is utterly depressing. And for that reason, with the news being full of stories Russion war crimes in Ukraine, this story feels very contemporary.
‘How can we not have learnt anything from the past? How are we still contending with the same level of mistrust, the same lies and the same vicious aggresion.
It might sound like a depressing film and parts of it are very uncomfortable viewing but ultimately it’s a story of hope and possibility, of how, with a little trust and a lot of courage ordinary people can change the world.
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