There are a growing number of action films featuring groups of women, with varying degrees of success with audiences, from Birds of Prey to Ghostbusters. In the spy world, it was limited to the recent Charlie’s Angels (which I myself am a huge fan of), but Jessica Chastain is now changing that with The 355. He pitched the project himself to director Simon Kinberg during the filming of Dark Phoenix. In the end, the execution could be better.
In Colombia, a guy got a demonstration of a technology that lets you control almost everything around you. The situation turns into a gunfight where another man (Edgar Ramirez) takes off. In the end, CIA agents Mace (Jessica Chastain) and Nick (Sebastian Stan) have to go to Paris to buy a device from him. However, their operation is thwarted by Maria (Diane Kruger), an agent of the German intelligence service.
Mace ends up having to go off on his own with a mission to keep the device from falling into the wrong hands. To do this, he enlists the help of an old friend of Kadijah (Lupita N’yongo, Us ), who is an expert in cybersecurity. Due to a combination of circumstances, they come into contact with Maria and psychologist Graciela (Penelope Cruz, Madres Paralelas) acquires the device. Together they must keep it out of the wrong hands, and it turns out to be more than expected.
It doesn’t depend on the players
The story sounds like a decent espionage story, but is plagued by clichés. That’s not necessarily bad, if the film isn’t too serious. Here I find that less of a case, so I sometimes have a tendency to roll my eyes. You can only hear typical spy words like “operation [surgery]” and so on many times before it gets too much. We’ve also seen the storyline of almighty technology quite a bit. It also has too much MacGuffin content to be very interesting.
The main goal of the film is to unite The 355 (a reference to Agent 355 who was a spy during the American Revolution). It will be a very long time before the whole group is completely complete, because actress Fan Bingbing really took a long time. But in the meantime you’ve been humiliated rich with Chastain, Nyong’o, Kruger and Cruz. Because it will definitely not lie with them and their interpretations. It’s just that the dialogues that are presented are often below their level.
For example, there’s an almost obligatory bonding moment where they all show how punishing they are, which makes it seem a bit forced. Another storyline around Nick also adds a less dramatic effect than expected and also keeps Sebastian Stan from appearing for too long. The characters also get some background stories but the only thing that’s really captivating is the “ordinary woman” Graciela.
355 above all is a missed opportunity
The strong points of this film are mainly the real action and espionage scenes, where the script is sometimes also brought to life. For example, group diversity is cleverly used in a sort of petty theft in a Moroccan market. We also have no doubt that all of these women can survive, but sometimes the direction gets in the way. In the beginning, for example, there are too many wobbly cameras and the fight scenes have very little speed towards the end.
Only too late there is an edgy twist that suddenly lifts The 355 in my price tag and the connection between the characters emerges. If they had that guts from the start and on a few more levels, maybe this one could do the trick. Maybe I rated the film too heavy, but with an actress like that you have to do a lot more. A little more fun la Ocean’s 8 or a completely dark tour like Widows would be better suited for this film. It now floats between the two, making the results entertaining but sadly also easier to forget.