TL;DR – While this is a good concept, unfortunately, production and narrative issues feel like an anchor dragging the film back at every moment.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid to see this film
The 355 Review –
One of the more frustrating things to see is when you have a narrative with an exciting hook that just plods along with a generic presentation. Today we are unfortunately looking at a film that does just that, and given what they were trying, it feels like a real missed opportunity.
So to set the scene, 150 Miles south of Bogota, Colombia, there appears to be a drug deal going on, but it is much worse. They are there to make a trade for a back door key into any of the world’s secure communications. At this point, a gunfight explodes out between the two cartels and the Colombian military and the key is lost in the melee until it is picked up by the last man standing (Édgar Ramírez). The last man standing is an operative for the CIA and immediately goes into hiding in Paris. It is up to CIA agents Mason “Mace” Browne (Jessica Chastain) and Nick Fowler (Sebastian Stan) to secure it, which is where things start going wrong.
This odd film feels like a throwback to an older era, yet released this year. It honestly felt out of date, like it was set in a world that doesn’t exist anymore. Part of that is probably because it got delayed because of COVID, but then there are also these odd moments like when it got nostalgic for the War of Terror that just feels wrong. Overall the narrative just lacks any real impact. It is just such a dull paint by numbers presentation. You see character betrayals coming a mile away. Indeed, nothing in this film makes you go ‘oh damn’. On the whole, it felt like there was only one moment where the fact that our leading cast was all women actually made a narrative difference. If the cast had been five men, the film would have played out almost identically.
While the narrative did drag this film back, what story was there was being played for the best by the cast. Jessica Chastain, Penélope Cruz, Fan Bingbing, Diane Kruger, and Lupita Nyong’o take what little is there and make the most of it. Of the cast, I wish they had given Fan Bingbing more to do, but everyone does nail the assignment, with Lupita Nyong’o being the MVP for me. It was nice that they travelled to different locations throughout the film. That did sort of help the feeling that they were going with. Where it didn’t work as well was with the action. There are some films where the shaky-hand-cam style of action works. This is not one of those films.
In the end, do we recommend The 355? Unfortunately, not. I mean, it is a perfectly okay film, so you will not lose the time if you sit down and watch it. However, you can see so much potential with the scenario that it is a real disappointment that the film decides to ignore this for a paint-by-numbers presentation. If you liked The 355, I would recommend to you Ocean’s 8 or Atomic Blonde.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The 355
Directed by – Simon Kinberg
Story by – Theresa Rebeck
Screenplay by – Theresa Rebeck & Simon Kinberg
Music by – Tom Holkenborg
Cinematography by – Tim Maurice-Jones
Edited by – John Gilbert & Lee Smith
Production/Distribution Companies – Freckle Films, Genre Films, FilmNation Entertainment, Huayi Brothers & Universal Pictures
Starring – Jessica Chastain, Penélope Cruz, Fan Bingbing, Diane Kruger, Lupita Nyong’o, Sebastian Stan, Édgar Ramírez, John Douglas Thompson, Sylvester Growth, Jason Flemyng, Raphael Acloque, Oleg Kricunova, Leo Staar, Jason Wong & Emilio Insolera
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: 14A; Germany: 16; New Zealand: M; United Kingdom: 12A; United States: PG-13