The fleet’s gun girls film, “The 355,” takes its title from the codename given to a woman spying for George Washington. This globally acclaimed action film directed by Simon Kinberg (“X-Men: Dark Phoenix“), who wrote it with Theresa Rebeck, has a handful of female spies, along with multiple betrayals, traitors and twists of fortune, plus a handful of action thrillers. This is pure catnip for fans of the beauty genre fighting the bad guys with aplomb – see “Ocean’s Eight, “”Charlie’s Angels, “and any Charlize Theron action movies, for example:”Atomic Blonde,” or “Old Guardian. “
The story of the film is ridiculously simple. A data key that can access anything on the internet – it can crash a plane, or in other words, take away Bogotá’s entire electrical grid – ends up in the hands of Luis Rojas (Edgar Ramirez). He may be buying it for Elijah Clarke (Jason Flemyng), an international counter-terrorism financier who has nefarious plans. However, CIA agent Mason “Mace” Browne (Jessica Chastain) and Nick (Sebastian Stan) meets Luis in Paris, where they hope to recover the dangerous device. Alas, everything goes sideways when German agent Marie Schmidt (Diane Kruger) intercepts and the first of many exciting chase scenes with a gunfight begins.
Undisclosed what happens, Mace will travel to England to reconnect with Khadijah (Lupita Nyong’o), a network intelligence agent and former MI6 agent have left the field. Of course, Mace will make Khadijah leave her dream boyfriend Abdel (Raphael Acloque) and help her out. And at the end of the next action sequence, the two women meet Marie and Graciela (Penelope Cruz), a psychologist. They eventually join forces, instead of continuing to violate each other’s activities. It will then head to Marrakesh for another action/chase/fight scene. Step and repeat.
“The 355” is hilarious as these non-custodial women act tough and fight hard. An amusing scene as teammates bond over beers and swap stories of their “first kill” while Graciela, the innocent stranger in all this derring-do, looks on in amazement.
The stunts are usually very impressive. Mace shoots a motorcycle that sends its driver down the stairs of a Paris metro, or jumps between shipping containers in pursuit of the device. Chastain is an intrepid protagonist, and her moxie is compelling, even if her lines are raw. Kruger also proves to be a force to be reckoned with, and her character has a backstory involving her father, who is also a spy. (Marion Cotillard was originally slated for Marie when the film was announced at Cannes in 2018). But the real secret weapon here is Lupita Nyong’o’s Khadijah, who is smart, quick-witted and often humorous. The scene where Nyong’o blows everyone in her way in one scene is really interesting. (The movie is rated PG-13, mostly bloodless.)
Around midway through, the data key ends up in an auction in Shanghai, where Lin Mi Sheng (Fan Bingbing) enters the painting. Her roles – including making films attractive to the Chinese market (although the actress has since been detained for tax evasion jeopardizing her involvement) – became apparent as the auction scene unfolded. Apparently, Elijah Clarke submitted an authorization to do his bidding for the device using the dark web.
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The auction sequence allowed the women to wear extravagant clothes and elegant jewelry, which were seen as communication devices, natch. And “The 355” asks spies to use their feminine wiles on unsuspecting men to gather information. Though Penélope Cruz doesn’t know how flirting is inevitable, as Graciela insists, it’s delicious when she does. (Watch her work that cocktail straw). Of course, things don’t go as planned, but the entertainment value here is watching the characters navigate each obstacle they encounter.
“The 355” isn’t a deeply poignant or politically charged film, but it does highlight how women work and men are recognized. Moreover, this team of female agents “puts themselves in danger and others do not”, which is commendable. And while Mace and Marie engage in the macho game of one spirit, these adversaries of freedom actually respect each other. (By contrast, Khadijah seems to really enjoy getting out of the spy game, and Graciela only dips her foot in espionage under certain circumstances.) Certainly, it’s not surprising that the men couldn’t. suitable for them.
As the movie builds to its literally explosive ending, there are no unexpected plot twists and some predictable moments – especially in the coda. But “The 355” leaves the door open for a sequel for these women to come back and kick their ass again.
“The 355” hits theaters on January 7. Watch the trailer below, via YouTube.
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https://www.salon.com/2022/01/07/the-355-review/ “355” delivers all the eye-popping action you’d expect from a badass spy movie