A top-secret weapon falls into mercenary hands. A rouge CIA agent joins forces with three international agents on a lethal mission to retrieve it. Thus begins the movie, The 355. The 355 has gotten trounced by the critics (somewhat unfairly) and has not been able to escape the Spider-Man juggernaut. Nevertheless, it’s a good film.
The 355 is inspired by the story of a real spy from the Revolutionary War. Although her identity is lost to history, like most trailblazing women of early American History, she played a major role in exposing Benedict Arnold as a traitor. A member of the Culper Spy Ring, she is credited for changing the course of the war. As enjoyable as The 355 is, the story of the Revolutionary spy is the real story that should be told. That’s the movie to see.
The action and cinematography of The 355 were great. The movie moved at a clip, never lagging. The action was satisfying and never dumbed down. Jessica Chastain was a producer on this film, as well as the lead. She took the time to make sure that this was a great action film, that just happened to start a diverse group of women. Chastain thoughtfully made a film that any woman could see herself in.
The acting was the standout of the film. The female ensemble that was electric, individualized and didn’t spend the run time “looking to be saved”. Each actress compelling. As usual, Lupita Nyong’o was a standout. You can’t take your eyes off her. How this woman isn’t in the conversation for more roles and awards is beyond comprehension. Her performance was nuanced, at some humorous as well as empathetic. You feel for her, especially in the film’s third act.
The only weakness of the film was that the script was somewhat inconsistent. The story, written by Theresa Rebeck, creates a world where the women are truly three dimensional. The men of the film are somewhat one-noted. This will jump out to you the second Sebastian Stan hits the screen. His entire character arc is completely predicable, and the acting doesn’t match up to his body of work. Rebeck rushes through the characters that surround the core group. Although, one can argue that aspects of a story must sometimes be sacrificed for the sake of timing, the ancillary characters became characterizations. Rebeck, with The 355, explores the idea that women do not need to be sacrificed for the male lead’s character arc and does that well. Nonetheless, by rushing through the ancillary characters, the agents of The 355 did not get the best story possible. This is where you being to long for the true-life story that inspired it.
Overall, it is a good film to check out, especially if you appreciate the craft of acting. Is this something to catch with the Dolby upcharge? No. However, once it goes to streaming, is it a good exercise in watching actors making something out of nothing? Yes. Check it out. The action is good. The acting is great. Do you wish another story was told? Yes. Still, it is worth your time.
The 355 – PG-13 2022 • Action/Thriller • 2h 4m
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