Chances are if you enjoy a spy-thriller from time to time, you have seen a bulk of what “The 355” ultimately delivers. Coming off “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” Simon Kinberg makes his sophomore outing behind the camera with a fantastic cast to direct. Jessica Chastain, Diane Kruger, Lupita Nyong’o, and Penélope Cruz headline this actioner centering on a group of international agents who will join forces when a top-secret weapon falls into the hands of a mercenary.
As I said, it’s all familiar for the genre, yet it still provides its spots of fun here and there. I would say it delivers pretty much what the trailers showcased. It’s a sleek spy movie that follows an admittedly predictable progression. Although it doesn’t necessarily do the cast justice. The story gets going relatively quickly and from there begins its trek through the motions of blown ops, and double agents, as it weaves its way through appealing international locations and familiar spy banter. It’s all a bit predictable, and at two hours, it is longer than needed.
However, despite not being fully utilized, the cast certainly elevates the generic material. Chastain, Kruger, Cruz, and Nyong’o pump life into their characters, and their screen presence alone is a huge bonus. Because on paper there isn’t much to these characters that we haven’t already seen countless times before. Also, the supporting cast certainly aids in filling out the other plug-and-play characters. Bingbing Fan, Sebastian Stan, and Edgar Ramírez all provide a bit of legitimacy to characters that would otherwise not command the same attention as the viewer. There isn’t that much here that feels fresh or inventive so some familiar faces without question help…somewhat.
The first act moves through a lot of layers to unite this group and from there it was a LOT of looking at computer screens at fancy surveillance as characters deliver exposition to progress the storyline. Cut in between these stretches are some enjoyable action-sequences though. So, there are some adrenaline pumping moments littered in that can effectively get the enthusiasm back up and running. Sadly, the mundane, trope filled narrative do these sequences no favors.
I think the action overall really popped. It was a blend of hand to hand, gunplay, and chase sequences, and with the cast putting in some quality stunt-work these set-pieces can do a great job pulling the viewer back in. Chastain really kicks-ass, she invested in this role and her effort, as well as that from the rest of the cast can at times help overshadow some of the blatant shortcomings this one had. “The 355” isn’t great. But it’s far from terrible. I enjoyed the action. But the long convoluted, and routinely convenient plot was a let-down, considering the potential of the cast.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2021 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.