Film review | Director Sinks ‘The 355’ Despite Solid Cast – Times-Standard

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A man drops a few good women with “The 355”.

The action flick starring the alluring female quartet of Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Diane Kruger and Penelope Cruz is torpedoed by the lackluster direction of Simon Kinberg.

A prolific producer and screenwriter on projects on the big and small screen, he made his feature film directorial debut with the 2019 movie “X-Men” so so “Dark Phoenix.

He takes a step back with “The 355”, which alternates between being hyper-kinetic distracting in its action sequences and lifeless in the stretches that depend on dialogue for entertainment.

The affair starts off fairly well, with a couple of powerful and seemingly infamous men 150 miles south of Bogota, Colombia trying to strike a deal involving the sale of technology that could disrupt the country’s large and small computer systems. whole world.

After the meeting was interrupted by a heavily armed Colombian intelligence force, the device ended up in the hands of one of these agents, Luis Rojas (Edgar Ramirez of “The Girl on the Train”). Seeing this as an opportunity to give his family a better life, he agrees to sell the device to the US government for just $ 3 million.

Enter Chastain’s CIA agent, Mason “Mace” Brown, who, along with his colleague Nick Fowler (Sebastian Stan, “Avengers: Endgame”), is tasked with making the exchange in Paris.

Mace is annoyed when her good friend Nick informs her that they will be pretending to be newlyweds on their honeymoon. It seems unnecessary to her (and to us).

“Try on the ring,” he said in a hotel room in Paris. “See if it fits. “

“Hmm,” she said surprisingly after slipping it onto her finger. “It will be fine.”

He takes this opportunity to share his feelings for her, and although she initially resists – he’s her best friend, and she doesn’t want to lose him and so on – sparks fly.

Soon, however, all is business for the couple. And after Kruger’s rival German agent Marie interrupts the all-important exchange at a Parisian cafe, we have a two-headed foot chase through the streets of Paris – Mace chasing Marie and Nick chasing Luis. Decently constructed, these parallel sequences represent the climax of “The 355”.

As the film progresses, Mace enlists an old friend in the quest to retrieve the device: reluctant former ally of MI6 and computer scientist Khadijah (Nyong’o). Realizing that they have a common goal, they soon team up with Marie, as well as Graciela (Cruz), a psychologist from the Colombian intelligence agency who, through her connection with Luis, has become linked to the device. importantly.

Sometimes you think that maybe just watching Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”, “Molly’s Game”), Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”, “Black Panther”), Kruger (“Inglourious Basterds”) , “In the Fade”) and Cruz (“Vanilla Sky”, “Murder on the Orient Express”) share the screen, but this does not turn out to be the case.

The talented quartet are disappointed not only with Kinberg’s choppy direction, but also with the screenplay he co-wrote with Theresa Rebeck (NBC’s “Smash,” “Trouble”), which is credited with the story. The story offers at least a few twists and turns, but one is far too telegraphed by Kinberg and the other is underwhelming.

Eventually, a fifth woman is added to the on-screen mix – Bingbing Fan’s Lin Mi Sheng, but unfortunately the Chinese star fails to shake things up in a positive direction.

In the end, “The 355” – whose name will be explained in its final minutes – is too dumb to take itself as seriously as it does. Even such talented actors cannot sell some of the dialogue they are asked to deliver with straightforward faces.

That would be twice as long, but do yourself a favor by skipping that in favor of HBO’s recent limited series “Scenes From a Marriage,” in which Chastain burns the screen opposite Oscar Isaac. Unlike watching this movie, that would be time well spent.

“The 355” is rated PG-13 for footage of intense violence, brief strong language, and suggestive material. Duration: 2 hours, 4 minutes.

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