The 355 Synopsis
The 355′ has a dream cast and stunning action sequences, but a weak tale that suffocates under the self-imposed pressure of being politically current and the desire to encourage autonomous women.
Critic’s Rating: 3.5/5
The 355 Story
When a group of female spies of international renown (or, notoriety? ), take on the task of defending the planet from technology-induced attacks, no cyber adversary can stay hidden for long. But how does one go about combating an opponent who is basically a “ghost”?
The 355 Review
Mace (Jessica Chastain) may have been a failure in relationships, but even with her eyes sewn shut, she can smash bones—of those who deserve it, of course. Marie (Diane Kruger) has mastered gymnastics and dialects for her enigmatic career as a Parisian agent, but she is lonely at heart. Field days are a thing of the past for Khadijah (Lupita Nyong’o), and Gracie (Penelope Cruz) has never held a pistol before. However, a lethal weapon has gotten into the wrong hands, and these four women—from all cultural backgrounds and parts of the globe—must defend mankind from an invisible foe: technology!
Simon Kinberg’s journey to intertwine women’s emancipation with the anonymous sacrifices of female spies throughout the world is littered with predictable tropes: for one thing, all of those women are victims of great injustice at work and are mocked for wearing the ‘pants’ at home, among other cliches.
The director’s intention may have been to honor individuals who have not lived at all—on paper—and it definitely fits with the present socio-political climate, which is rife with loud voices calling for women’s independence. And while we are all for it, the audience is let down by the predictable plot and sheer familiarity of it. One would anticipate mind-boggling, earth-shattering twists and turns every 15 minutes with such a superb cast… Unfortunately, it appears that flavorless is the flavor of the spy drama ‘The 355’.
Jessica Chastain rises to the situation, aided by her actor sisters in arms, Lupita Nyong’o, Penelope Cruz, and Diane Kruger, who provide her with much-needed soothing (acting) hands. Chastain is sophisticated and witty, Kruger is a sassy spy, and Nyong’o is lively and fearless. Cruz, on the other hand, may not have been the best option for a demure character like Gracie, but the seasoned actor handles the role with grace.
It would be a crime to claim that ‘The 355,’ with its overtones of women’s power and racial inclusivity, doesn’t have its share of nail-biting moments: it does, but only in bits and pieces, and largely throughout the first half. The other part drags on interminably, sometimes with no end in sight. The film’s worst ‘enemy’ is the absence of a professional storyline and the limited representation of thrills.
‘The 355’ boasts a dream cast and fantastic action sequences, but a weak tale that suffocates under the self-imposed strain of being politically current and the desire to encourage autonomous women.