Think of The 355 like a math equation. Not just any math equation, but a MOVIE MATH EQUATION. One where you can upload a formula into a movie 3-D printer and PLOP, you get a movie. Sounds messy, however this movie isn’t that messy as it’s quite intentional at being what it wants to be. Does it work? Let’s just say this movie turns out to be a rough start to 2022.
Questionably Elite Female Super Spies from different agencies across the globe set their differences aside to band together and thwart a group of mercenaries who look to secure an equally questionable but most definitely contrived McGuffin– I mean Cyber weapon from falling into the wrong hands and starting World War 3.
It’s been almost 80 years. Aren’t we tired of the “It could lead to World War 3” plots? I know I am. Then again this was written and directed by Simon Kinberg who grew up on stories like these. To say this plot is dated would be an understatement– I’m sure this specific project was dusted off of someone’s shelf from the early 2000’s. Furthermore, everything about this film feels inauthentic. It feels like it was not intended for this cast and no number of rewrites can make this work in 2022.
The marketing would have you believe this is a new-age kick-ass female film organically built to start a franchise, and it’s what I hoped for, but it’s not the case. Honestly, I don’t even know who this film is made for. It’s not fun, it’s not sexy, it’s not smart, and it does nothing to elevate the genre. We as audiences have matured past sculpted pecs and pretty faces though and, unfortunately, that’s all this film is relying on. The direction is the biggest hindrance as Kinberg offers no distinct style or over-the-top deliciousness for your eyes to feast on in respect to action or cinematography. It’s not doing anything bad per-say, just aggressively average.
The screenplay, at least, is elevated by the Rockstar performances from our great cast. Lupita Nyong’o and Penelope Cruz shine above the rest, delivering subdued and emotional turns in a genre where these characters would be relegated to the background. It’s their vulnerability and delivery that anchor the film to any emotion. Look, Chastain’s not bad. She’s doing more than the trailers led me to believe, it’s just done where it counts the least. Is the chemistry between her and Sebastian Stan good? Sure, but does their love story make a lick of sense? Absolutely not! And the chemistry between her and the other heroines is too average to lead this film to greatness.
Ultimately, this is an Action Spy Thriller and while the story leaves much to be desired it’s a film where you can at least tolerate its “Action Spyness”. A bit more humor throughout would’ve gone a long way too and maybe, just maybe, this would’ve made for a decent Amazon Prime series. Back to math: Will this movie impress you? No. Will it annoy you? Possibly. Will you watch it more than once? I sure hope not. Answer to this movie math equation = The 355 gets added to the ever-growing list of January releases that remind us exactly why the thought of “January release” is a scary thing to see next to any film title you care about.