The 355 is a star-studded spy action thriller, now available to watch on Sky Cinema. With such an impressive cast you’d be forgiven for expecting big things, but sadly the end result is a very lacklustre and forgettable affair.
The film opens in Columbia, where criminal boss Elijah Clarke (Jason Flemyng) is presented with a special drive that can access any digital system on the planet. Before he can take it, Columbian authorities raid the building and Clarke is forced to flee. The drive is instead collected by Columbian agent Luis Rojas (Édgar Ramírez), who then attempts to sell it to the CIA. Agent Mason “Mace” Brown (Jessica Chastain) and long-time friend Nick Fowler (Sebastian Stan) are sent to Paris to purchase the drive from Rojas.
However, their meeting with Rojas goes south when undercover German agent Marie Schmidt (Diane Kruger) steals the bag, and while Mace follows her Nick goes after Rojas and comes face to face with Clarke in an alley. Mace loses Marie and, on her return, discovers that Nick was killed in the alley. Determined to find the device, Mace is given permission to retrieve it by whatever means and heads to London to recruit friend and retired MI6 operative Khadijah Adiyeme (Lupita Nyong’o).
Meanwhile, Rojas meets with agency psychologist Graciela Rivera (Penélope Cruz) to hand over the drive. They’re tracked by Mace, Khadijah and Marie, and after Rojas is shot by one of his own agents, the drive is stolen by a thief who manages to escape. Marie takes Graciela to a safe house and is soon confronted by Mace and Khadijah. After facing off, the four women decide to work together to track down the device. After initially succeeding in their mission, the women soon find themselves hunted and framed and must continue to work together to prevent the device from getting in the wrong hands.
The 355 was released in cinemas earlier in the year but didn’t appear to last long before being taken off the schedule and unfortunately, I can see why. It has a truly phenomenal cast, but they’re not enough to make up for the uninspired and clichéd plot. The storyline is a confusing mess of generic spy nonsense, and the attempt to bring together agents from five different spy agencies is handled very badly. Instead of interesting, it’s just incredibly confusing. The story is also incredibly predictable. I wish filmmakers would realise that claiming someone is dead without a body or death scene is a tired, overused trope that we as viewers can see coming a mile off.
The fight scenes are at least fairly decent although some of the shaky camera work is a bit jarring, but the rest of the film feels very forgettable. Even the phenomenal cast is let down by the shoddy and ridiculously silly script. The only person who really stands out is Diane Kruger as the enigmatic and conflicted Marie, while the rest of the female characters are so undeveloped that they could be completely interchangeable. Penélope Cruz probably suffers the most, her scared, meek character is entirely ill-fitting for such a brilliant actress. There are some decent scenes here, like when the women swap stories of their first missions, but these are lost within the rest of the generic spy nonsense. The worst of all is that the film’s title isn’t explained until the final scenes, which seems like a very bad move.
I had hoped that The 355 would be a refreshing female-led spy thriller, but instead aside from the brilliant cast, it is an entirely forgettable and predictable effort.
A contract manager moonlighting as a rather discerning film and book critic, with an almost fangirl appreciation for anything made by Christopher Nolan. When I’m not catching up on my latest read or watch, you can usually find me trying out my amateur baking skills – Bake Off here I come!