The 355 (2022) movie review
The 355 is an action/thriller starring Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Diane Kruger, Penélope Cruz, and Bingbing Fan as a group of spies, each from a different country, who have to put aside their differences and work together when a powerful technological weapon goes missing. The film opened this past weekend to a fairly poor reception from critics and audiences, only placing third at the box office.
Going into this film, I was going to attempt to rework the way I wrote reviews. I used to read soundtrack reviews that, before going in depth, had a summary in two parts: “Buy it” and “Avoid it.” Except, The 355 isn’t worth watching… But why not, let’s give it a shot!
If you are so nostalgically attached to late 80s and early 90s spy tropes that you don’t care how tired and worn out there are, because The 355 is mindless entertainment that offers nothing new to the genre.
If you crave any semblance of competent storytelling. Even ironically, the poorly paced 355 drains any amount of enjoyment from its audience. Despite a few minor attempts to bring quality to the film, the most enjoyment anyone in the audience seemed to have is one gentlemen who kept laughing at Penélope Cruz’s dialogue.
Even without Sebastian Stan and Edgar Ramírez, this is a stacked cast who rarely gets anything to do. Diane Kruger makes due with arguably the only interesting character in the film, but like everyone else, could sleepwalk through this movie. None of the cast is given any sort of challenge, with most residing to deliver their already dated dialogue and flat characters as briskly as possible.
The biggest disappointment in the film might be the treatment of the characters themselves. We are in 2022 now, so an all-female spy thriller is no surprise. Why- why doesn’t this work though? Well because the writing is still stuck in the 1990s. Chastain is a character who’s character arc seems to revolve around a man, Cruz wants to get back to her family the whole time (and gets nothing to do otherwise), and Nyong’o’s only moments where she gets to showcase her talents seem to be getting emotional about a relationship. Again, Kruger’s character is defined by her reluctance to work with others, which is more interesting by default, as Fan’s character also has no real depth or motivation.
Okay okay, you aren’t here for characters and drama, you want to see some action! Well get ready for the ultimate throwback! To mid-2000s shaky-cam and quick cuts… Disregarding the surplus of silly moments and ridiculous conveniences that have plagued this genre for thirty years or more, there isn’t anything very interesting about this movie. Tom Holkenborg recycles John Powell’s Bourne-style without the more interesting elements; the editing is laughable (that or the film was cut together by someone actively suffering from a seizure); and the way the film thinks its fooling its audience is- frankly insulting.
The only real credit I will give this film is finally having characters from one nationality speaking to other characters of the same nationality in their native tongue. Seriously how many movies just make everyone speak English? Actually they do make poor Bingbing Fan exposition dump in English, but for the most part, the film deserves that credit.
And little else. The 355 features laughably internal logic, lazy and predictable moments that the film thinks is genuinely cool, and a complete waste of its cast. Any movie that needs two different shots of someone raising a gun before another cut of them firing is bound to end up either one of the worst films of the year or utterly forgettable. It’s hard to tell which one this will be, because I spent the weekend forgetting to write this review because- well I totally forgot that The 355 existed. My advice? skip it. You’ll get nothing out of this ‘copy, paste’ spy thriller. 3/10.
So The 355? Did you see it? What did you thin? And what do you think is the worst spy thriller ever made? Be sure to leave a like or a comment below and let us know! And if there’s a film coming out or already out that you would like us to talk about, let us know and we’ll write a review! Thanks for reading!
-review by Ryan Prince