The 355 [Grade: 77.5%]

Director: Simon Kinberg

Story By: Theresa Rebeck & Simon Kinberg

Cast: Jessica Chastain, Lupin Nyong’o, Diane Kruger, Penélope Cruz, Bingbing Fan, Sebastian Stan, Edgar Ramírez & Jason Flemyng 

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#NewName! The Dukereel is now my favorite movie snacks—Popcorn and Twizzlers. 

Anyway, you know… outside of one issue with the story, this was actually a pretty decent film. Now the question is was it worth a move ticket vs being streamed? 

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Below are my grades for key components in #The355 that I find to be key in any story/film—Theme, Plot, Pacing, and Character (pertaining to arc/development &/or delivery). FYI: My A=95, A- =90, B=85, B-=80…etc. My D- =60 and my F=50

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Theme: C

Plot & Story: B

Pacing: B

Character: D

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Entertainment Factors

General Public: Interesting Enough

Film Enthusiasts: Don’t Watch

Experience Seekers (via Visuals & Score): Don’t Rush

Action Thriller Fans: Interesting Enough

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TAKEAWAYS:

1. Ms. Cruz is just GORGEOUS! My goodness! 😩😍

2. The 355 is a story about 5 women from around the world, all affiliated with their country’s agency of defense, who go from being enemies to partners in order to protect the world from possible war. 

The film starts off strong with Act One introducing the drive and its importance to the story, as well as giving us a key character that helps to weave in 1 of the 5 women which ultimately leads to 2 other women having to cross paths as well. 

Act Two is when the film starts to finds its footing more…once “men” were moved from being revolved around. We get more time to see these women work, think, and plan together while also getting insight to who they are and what sets them against one another. I actually wish more of Act Two was used to set the story in motion for Act One. 

Act Three is the star of this film. These women are wearing these men OUT! It houses more of what is possibly anticipated with this film from the general public. 

Now this issue is that the film does take a little time to align itself to the actual core of the story due to pacing and this “love story” that was so unnecessary and awkward. Like WHY did someone think that would be a good idea vs just letting these women be bad ass women? He could’ve just been a really close friend. Even that first intimate interaction was SOOOOOO strange. 

But once that equilibrium hits (during Act 2 onward), the film is really engaging.🤷🏾‍♂️👍🏾

3. Oh and Bingbing’s character was a bad bitch. Yeeeeesssss! 🙌🏾🙌🏾

4. The pacing of this film is a good example of not really using time effectively. When I tell you…Act One just runs around…literally and figuratively…as it sort of forces the crossing of 2 of the 5 women. Hypothetically speaking, how they crossed could happen, BUT it felt sudden and just took off at 100 MPH out of nowhere. 

Pacing also made the inclusion of the story’s centerpiece—this “drive”—feel choppy. The way this drive was utilized felt similar to those animated scenes where this object—let’s say a ball—happens to somehow get loose and end up in so many random places and situations (like getting mixed up in a jugglers routine before being tossed on top of a 3 scoop ice cream cone of a wining child who shakes the cone causing the ball to roll on the pavement which leads to a hill… …you get it. Lol). The drive becomes more interesting and important by Act Three, which is also when the film picks up. 🤷🏾‍♂️

5. Now I don’t know who the FIRST guy who went to Africa with drive was, but he was BAE! 👀😍

6. CHIIIIIILE… the 3 monitors and “Skype”-ish moment…. …🤭🤭🤭

7. That wine colored, velvet pantsuit Marie had on…😩🙌🏾🙌🏾

8. The messaging was a little shaky. What seemed to come through was a message around the mess men make that women have to clean up. It can also be seen as a take on the phrase, “It takes a woman to do (what seems like) a man’s job…” 

Now Act Three does a good job with getting the message across the best. The major action scene, an interaction between Mace and Nick, and a final statement by one of the women sums the message up nicely. 

Acts One and Two do a good job with showing how men make a mess of everything, especially concerning “this drive.” It’s a pretty good display of “masculinity/patriarchal war.”

My issue is how a story that attempts to elevate the power of women STILL found a way to revolve them around men in the most intimate ways with the WORST and most FORCED being with Mace’s character… like, how terrible! 🤦🏾‍♂️🤦🏾‍♂️

9. That cargo dock action scene felt extremely staged. Like y’all really had to do ALL of that to shoot at him on a boat? Especially Marie! 🤦🏾‍♂️😂😂😂

10. Character development is the rough spot for this film, and maybe because pacing doesn’t really focus on the audience being able to really know these women…who lead the story. 

Out of all the characters, I was drawn to Penélope and Bingbing’s character most. Penélope had what seemed to be the most authentic character to me in both her story and delivery. 

Bingbing’s character didn’t really have as much screen time, but what she was meant to do…she did and did well. 

Lupita’s character was another who was delivered extremely well, but it almost felt like no one knew what to do with her story. It was an easy cop out plot for her in a story like this; like checking off boxes of “what type of character are in confidential government type action stories…” 

Diane’s character just felt like an after thought. Her story seemed forced and didn’t really make much logical sense. 

Jessica’s character development was a disappointment. She was clearly the “lead woman” and writers really couldn’t let her be “the lead woman” by. Her. Self. The first 5-8 minutes of meeting her character is tarnished by this forced ass love story that I assumed writers felt was needed to motivate her character…but it really wasn’t. 🤦🏾‍♂️🤦🏾‍♂️🤦🏾‍♂️

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Overall #The355 gives Charlies Angels – meets Bad Boys 2 – meets Bad Boys for Life- meets Oceans 8 – meets the twist of What Happened to Monday. 

The film is definitely engaging, but I don’t think it needed to be over 2 hours, nor did it need to be a theater feature. It gives Amazon Prime Original. BUT if you were out one day and needed to waste 2 hours, and NOTHING else was in theaters that seemed interesting, this wouldn’t be a bad choice. 

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