Moviola in January

BENEDICT Cumberbatch is everywhere you look at present. He stars in the darkly brilliant western, The Power of the Dog (available on Netflix), plays the artist Louis Wain, best known for his quirky paintings of cats, in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, with Clair Foy as his wife, reprises his role as Dr Strange in the newest Marvel superhero movie,  The Multiverse of Madness (due out in May), and has the title role, as Greville Wynne, in The Courier, Moviola’s main January film.

The Courier tells the true story of the British businessman who helped MI6 penetrate the Soviet nuclear programme during the Cold War. Greville Wynne and his Soviet source, Oleg Penkovsky (codenamed Ironbark), provided crucial intelligence that ended the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Wynne is approached by a spy from MI6 and a spy from the CIA and asked to pose as a business contact of Penkovsky to gain intelligence relating to Soviet missiles being transported to Cuba. Wynne and Penkovsky are caught and Penkovsky admits betraying his country while insisting Wynne as a courier knows nothing of the intelligence passed on, which supports Wynne’s claim of innocence. Wynne makes sure Penkovsky knows his sacrifice is worth it. Penkovsky is executed and buried in an unmarked grave. Wynne is eventually released in a prisoner exchange for a Russian spy, Konon Molody.

Cumberbatch, who lost 21lb for the role, gives an impressive performance as Wynne, with Jessie Buckley as his wife Sheila, and Merab Ninidze as Penkovsky.

The Courier is being shown in January at Codford St Peter (The Woolstore), Beaminster (Public Rooms), Bourton, Fontmell Magna, Chard, South Petherton, Norton Sub Hamdon, Motcombe, Netherbury, Steeple Ashton, Marnhull, East Knoyle, Bishopstone (near Salisbury), Tatworth, West Camel, and Norton St Philip.

The Pebble and The Boy, which is being shown at Odcombe, is a nostalgic road trip film – 19 year old John Parker from Manchester embarks on a journey to Brighton, spiritual home of the Mods, on an old Lambretta scooter left to him by his father.

The poignant The Last Bus, starring Timothy Spall, is at Charlton Marshall, East Stour and Holwell (near Sherborne).

Other Moviola screenings during January are Dream Horse at Milborne Port, Nowhere Special at Dunster, and Nomadland at Downton.

For weekly screenings see the Arts Diary; for details of venues visit www.moviola.org

Pictured: Benedict Cumberbatch as Greville Wynne in The Courier.