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The 355 review – a dull, bloated bore

January 5, 2023

The post Review 355 – Dull, Bloated Bore appeared first on Ready Steady Cut.

This review of The 355 does not contain spoilers.

My God, Simon Kinberg wrote horrible movies. I mean, some of the biggest blunders and blunders, not just in this century, but in Hollywood history. It makes you wonder who the hell he is related to. Besides the exceptional X-Men: Days of Future Pastyou have Sweater, This Means War, X*X: State of the Union, Fantastic Four, X-Men Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix. This shouldn’t inspire confidence in anyone wishing to see their directorial debut, The 355. It’s as dull and uninspired a women’s action flick as most of her filmography.

You do not believe me ? Trust me; a spy thriller needs a script to achieve certain levels of action in addition to some close quarters combat. Do not mistake yourself; you can do worse than watch fiery red-haired CIA agent Mason Brown (Jessica Chastain) fight multiple times with a rival German agent (Diane Kruger) before the end of the first act. Even when they face off, guns pointed, they each count down in a game to see who gets to lower their gun first. Yet, it lasts so long that you begin to notice that simply pulling the trigger immediately ends the conflict. It’s exaggerated in the first few minutes.

This leads to another series of classic but poorly drawn generic tropes. You have the best friend, a handsome MI-6 agent and computer mastermind (Lupita Nyong’o). The shy and nervous Colombian psychologist (Penelope Cruz) who will prove that she was never the shy and nervous type. And the haunting memory of losing a partner even though you never see a body, so you know what’s coming later. And of course all the rivals come together, a little United Nations secret agent teamwork to stop a secret weapon that could destroy the world. Stop me when you’ve heard that before.

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These can be understood and tolerated; it is entertainment, after all. But some scenes range from nonsensical to silly and frustrating. Even in a female-led thriller, two spies clash, trying to talk trash, and a female agent rushes in to tell them, basically, to put it back in their pants. It’s been seen in thousands of male-directed movies. You also have Chastain following a suspect who seems to have just stepped out of a Carmen Sandiego animated special. So tell me, when the spy with practically translucent skin and the most colorful hair is trying to follow their mark discreetly through a market where she sticks out like a sore thumb?

It’s only the beginning of The 355 and it never gets over it because the characters act just as incredibly arrogant as the script. Kinberg has only a narrow view of aesthetics, and his characters hardly ever reflect on their actions. For a two-hour movie, there’s way too much nonsense to try to bloat a story into two hours.

Someone had to give the studio and Kinberg the 411 on The 355. It’s a swollen bore.

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The post Review 355 – Dull, Bloated Bore appeared first on Ready Steady Cut.