Sunday, May 22, 2022

‘The 355’ Spoiler Here isn’t the Ending | WATCH

(from left) Graciela (Penélope Cruz), Khadijah (Lupita Nyong’o), Marie (Diane Kruger) and Mason “Mace” (Jessica Chastain) in The 355. Photo: Robert Viglasky/Universal Pictures

*Happily, my first film review for 2022 is “The 355.” It is about fierce females saving the world from a deadly threat. My favorite is the kickass Marie (Diane Kruger). Described in the Production notes: “As fearless as Mace (Jessica Chastain) and even more deadly, Marie is a longtime operative for the Bundesnachrichtendienst, Germany’s answer to the CIA.” Mace is a military veteran and an experienced CIA operative who will stop at nothing to achieve her objectives and complete every mission.

The spoiler of the group and least favorite, for me least, is the whiney wife Dr. Graciela Rivera (Penélope Cruz). We all know that mothers are nurturers and will always put their children first. But do we have to have int drilled into our heads in a spy movie? This is a fantasy film guys, for crying out loud! Dr. Rivera is always checking in with hubby to make sure kids are doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Was Arnold Schwarzenegger always checking in with Jamie Lee Curtis to see if Eliza Dushku was doing what she should in “True Lies?” No!

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Dressed to kill (L-r) Graciela (Penélope Cruz), Mason “Mace” (Jessica Chastain), Khadijah (Lupita Nyong’o) and Marie (Diane Kruger) in The 355, co-written and directed by Simon Kinberg.

Another takeaway point is the extensive use of subtitles. Before watching the film, I did not sign up for a reading session. I do not review foreign films for this very reason. It’s impossible to get the actors’ nuances and facial expressions when you’re reading.

(L-r) Larry Marks (John Douglas Thompson, back to camera), Graciela (Penélope Cruz), Mason “Mace” (Jessica Chastain), Khadijah (Lupita Nyong’o) and Marie (Diane Kruger) in The 355. Credit: Universal Pictures

The always amazing Lupita Nyong’o (Khadijah Adoyo) makes the group’s mission possible. A supremely talented hacker and a thoroughly brilliant mind, Khadijah has done her time as an MI6 agent, so she’s well versed in the world of espionage. After retiring from MI6, Adoyo became a tech entrepreneur. But it was a no-brainer when her friend, Mace, came a calling and asked for her help to save the world.

“The 355,” although cliched with trite dialogue, is a fun family film with strong female images. Not relying on gratuitous sex, nudity, and F-bombs in a world with deteriorating intelligence and decaying values, is reason alone that “The 355” should be applauded.

Directed by Simon Kingberg, the Universal Pictures release in theaters now, also stars Lupita Nyong’o’s co-star in “Black Panther,” Sebastian Stan, Edgar Ramirez, and John Douglas Thompson.       Twitter: @thefilmstrip

Marie Moore
Veteran syndicated journalist who covers film and television.




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