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Arts + Life

The 355

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When you’re a loner CIA agent like Mace (Jessica Chastain), and an assignment takes you to places like Colombia and Shanghai, you go with no worries about leaving loved ones behind because you have none. Your other female kick-ass operatives in the gender-conscious spy film, The 355, like Khadijah (Lupita Nyong’o) and Graciela (Penelope Cruz), have much love and family to leave behind, but, hey, catching elusive international bad guys is what they do--that heart-rending stuff lends depth to an otherwise skillfully formulaic spy film with an ensemble of smart females you end up wanting to see in a sequel, maybe not so much Mission Impossible.

They’re after saving the world from those baddies with a device that would conquer that world. It’s a small hard drive and can neutralize the most hidden communication system ever. That device is just the familiar, formulaic MacGuffin, for our pleasure is seeing these good girls take down such devious good/bad guys like Nick (Sebastian Stan), among the many men who still plague tender-hearted women, despite the advances for independence female heroes have in the last decade or two.

So much for the now-dustbin Charlie’s Angels with its cutie pies, low-level intrigue, and blatant sexism.

And so it goes around the world with the bad guys continuing to shoot poorly an get beaten up by women half their size. It’s all in good fun for viewers like me and my friends who can shout and hoot in empty theaters as we encourage these robust women to take down foolish men who live in another era of male dominance.

Let The 355 stand proudly next to Atomic Blonde, Wonder Woman, Black Widow, The Old Guard, and my fav, Gunpowder Milkshake, as they shake up a once male-dominated genre. And it’s a generous amount of a good-time away from your COVID-dominated home.

The 355

Director: Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Dark Phoenix)

Screenplay: Kinberg, Theresa Rebeck (Harriet the Spy)

Cast: Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye), Diane Kruger (Welcome to Marwen)

Run Time:2h 2m

Rating: PG-13

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JohnDeSando62@gmail.com