Despite the fact that this movie has an impressive cast, the writing of this, nevertheless entertaining movie, suffers from mostly unoriginal writing and espionage thriller cliches. With solid direction and dedicated performances by the cast, The 355 is not a total disaster, and will probably have some fans wanting more. Well, this might not be a major spoiler alert for some, but it seems that the filmmakers behind this uninspired spy movie are hoping that this movie will gain a huge, successful following meriting further installments. As for this film critic, I am totally fine if a new franchise never takes off from this tepid starting point.
C.I.A agent Mason Browne (Jessica Chastain) works a mission with partner and love interest Nick Fowler (Sebastian Stan). The mission is to retrive a volatile drive which gives immense power to anyone who wields it. In the wrong hands, this drive could spell a disaster on a global level. After the mission to retrieve the technological weapon goes south, Browne finds out that her nation is not the only interested party.
As Germany, Britain, and Colombia are also interested in acquiring this dangerous tool, Browne finds herself forced to work with agents Khadijah (Lupita Nyong’o), Marie Schmidt (Diane Kruger), and psychological analyst and agent Graciela (Penelope Cruz) to prevent the drive from entering the wrong hands. As all of the agents are mostly loyal to their respective governments, they each find it rather difficult to work with one another, make compromises, and develop trust among themselves. As acquiring the drive proves challenging, each member of this international team brings some valuable skills to the nearly impossible task ahead.
Directed and written by Simon Kinberg, who co-wrote with Theresa Rebeck, The 355 does deliver solid action and thrills, but the story and development of which is certainly predictable and transparent. The movie seems to follow every usual trick in the espionage movie playbook which definitely takes away from the gravity of the story and ultimately fails to make the events of the film thoroughly compelling.
I will say that I enjoyed the characters’ traits and what each actor brings to them. I honestly have nothing bad to say about every actor’s performance in the movie. They all do well, and bring more dimension than the story deserves. The suspense and action sequences work well enough and kept me somewhat invested, but it wasn’t hard at all to see where most of everything is going.
I will admit that there is one twist I did not predict, but that alone is not enough for me to give this movie high praise. The 355 opens in theaters this weekend, and it is a movie I think my readers should wait to watch in the comfort of their homes. Should this film attain enough financial success for the producers to greenlight a sequel, I hope that the creative minds behind any further installments bring their A-game to it. Otherwise, this mediocre movie can lead to either more of the same, or much worse.