The 355

Flashy faux feminism

A wild-card CIA agent (Jessica Chastain) teams up with a badass German intelligence agent (Diane Kruger), an ace MI6 computer specialist (Lupita Nyong’o) and a Colombian psychologist (Penelope Cruz) to retrieve a top-secret, world-threatening MacGuffin, all the while being shadowed by a ubiquitous Chinese operative (Bingbing Fan). They fight, they chase, they scheme, they bond, and they globetrot.

I’ve lamented often in this space the fact that the talented, versatile and gorgeous Chastain has never won an Oscar (while Hillary friggin’ Swank has two). And it’s true that woman actors have fewer juicy roles to choose from than their male counterparts. I get that. 

But Jessica has shot herself in the foot by taking a producer credit for this moronic, shallow and monstrously generic bit of faux feminism. Plus, it’s humorless, plodding and surprise-free. And I hate it when crappy films like this use the final scene to set up a highly unlikely sequel.

Okay, call me old-fashioned, but it seems to me that feminism and equality should mean more than merely showing that women can make action movies every bit as vacuous as can men. Women, especially these talented women, deserve better. (122 min)