Source: Unsplash by Georgia Vagim
The 355 was one of the highly anticipated movies of 2022, thanks to its all-star cast and thrilling plot. However, as the box office run began; the anticipation soon turned into a disappointment. Unfortunately, the movie failed to land a solid remark on a variety of fields.
When the trailers for the movie were first published, the immediate reaction from the public was the question of whether The 355 was going to be a Charlie’s Angels rip-off. The theme was clear; there were female spies who are ready to take the bad guys down for the sake of the world, a script that we’ve seen told quite a lot up to this point. However, the expectations were high, because the director of the movie was revealed to be Simon Kinberg, who also directed box office hits such as The Martian and Deadpool. People were excited to see what kind of a new approach Kinberg would bring to the “female agent” theme. And of course, stargazing cast that includes likes of Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Sebastian Stand, Penelope Cruz and more have also contributed to the overly anticipated potential of the movie. But, what the audience was left with after leaving the theaters at the end of a two-hour screen time, was a mediocre rip-off of Charlie’s Angels.
Alright, maybe it’s too much to stamp The 355 as a Charlie’s Angels rip-off; but what makes this impression is the lacklustre storytelling and script of the movie. First of all, when everything’s said and done and the movie ends; as a viewer, you’re not quite sure what you have just witnessed. The movie promises to be an action movie but you’re left questioning whether there was really enough action. Or, you’re not sure if there was any real big danger the world was facing. This brings our very first critique to the movie; it lacks a solid motive to keep the movie running. The whole script revolves around a digital weapon that can wreak havoc to the entire world; yet, viewers never really get to see how dangerous this weapon can be. Throughout the movie, the characters try to remind us that they are trying to save the world; but the audience rarely gets the same feeling. It is because of this lack of motive that, it gets difficult for audience to be sucked up into the story.
Another issue that The 355 has is the underwhelming character development. Even in the beginning, where we are supposed to feel that there is a level of intimacy and passion between Mace (Jessica Chastain) and Nick (Sebastian Stan); the movie falls flat due to the lack of chemistry. Maybe it is because we are not introduced to their past, but even in the moment, it is difficult to connect with this love and hate kind of relationship. This issue keeps repeating throughout the movie; we don’t entirely know why Khadijah (Lupita Nyong’o) quit being a spy, how Marie (Diane Kruger) suffered from the betrayal of his father, or Graciela (Penelope Cruz) got caught up in an international security crisis. We are made to believe that, the danger is so enormous that these four women unite their skills and risk their lives to prevent a catastrophe from happening, yet we are presented with very little background story to feel convinced. In fact, halfway through the movie, the digital weapon almost loses its importance and the personal relationships of the characters become what’s keeping the movie running. Since character development is not very well executed too, the movie starts to lose its rhythm towards the end.
In terms of directing, there’s not much of a problem besides the lack of action scenes or simple choreography of the action scenes. The main thing that kept disturbing me was the high pace between skipping through one scene to another. Sometimes, it became difficult to keep track of the events as to how one story connects to another. Yet again, there’s not much of a big problem directing wise overall.
What ultimately wrecks this movie is its very poor script. From dialogues to cliché storyline, nothing truly lands. Overused nature and non-innovative aspects of the story aside, there is also a problem of creating an interesting environment. Most of the speeches are cut short and don’t explain the situation properly, while the story becomes very predictable after first twenty minutes. The movie relies on a plot-twist which the audience can predict the moment Nick was declared dead. Therefore, The 355 positions itself as a great example of how a bad script can ruin a movie that consists full of amazing actors and actresses. Penelope Cruz, Sebastian Stan, Jessica Chastain and Diane Kruger; they all get lost in this underwhelming storyline. It was their acting reputation that kept this movie running.
Overall, The 355 remains a disappointment with its lazy scriptwriting and superficial storytelling. However, would I recommend it to be seen regardless? Absolutely, yes! Why, you might ask? Because the movie scores well in its entertainment value. Really, despite all of its downfalls, after the movie ended, I realised that I was not bored and actually quite enjoyed the time. Maybe it’s because of the amazing cast or fluid nature of the events, I don’t know. But, The 355 can be a good option for those cine-goers that seek pure entertainment value. It can even make daily problems disappear for two hours!
And by the way, the name of the movie has nothing to do with the movie itself. The 355 being the first ever spy was so disconnected, that it would have been better if they had never written a dialogue about it.
Anyways, that’s it there for The 355. Unfortunate thing is that; it could’ve been such a hit yet positioned itself as a forgettable cheesy pick.