Big waste of time, talent

Graeme Tuckett ★



Stuff NZ Newspapers


The 355 (M, 124 mins) Directed by Simon Kinberg Reviewed by So, there’s this computer widget. And whoever has it can control any system in the world. You can cripple whole cities, knock planes out of the sky, or launch nuclear weapons – if you like. As MacGuffins go, it pretty much screams ‘‘lazy scriptwriting’’. But that laziness isn’t the worst thing about The 355. Nope, that would be the sheer inanity of it. As the priceless thingy changes hands and travels around the globe – Bogota, Paris, Morocco, Shanghai etc – it is variously lost, stolen and then, err, hidden in a vase. The first time we meet Diane Kruger, she nicks the doohickey by pouring coffee on Jessica Chastain and then grabbing Chastain’s backpack and running off down the street. She eventually catches a train. Have these people never heard of getaway cars? Pretty soon I just started laughing out loud, wondering only why the three other people in the cinema weren’t doing the same. The 355 is a waste of time and talent. With Chastain, Kruger, Lupita Nyong’o, Penelope Cruz and Fan Bingbing all on screen, it takes a rare skill to turn in a film as baggy and unengaging as this. But director and writer Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Dark Phoenix) has managed it. He can’t shoot action to save himself. The 355 unfolds in a series of loose mid-shots that only fail to conceal how uninspired everything happening really is. Chastain’s big scrap against a guard looks more like a bad Dancing with the Stars audition tape than two people allegedly fighting. When it hits streaming, at home, fast-forwarding through the lousy dialogue and possibly drunk, The 355 might get you through a couple of hours before you pass out on the couch. Just don’t pay to watch it in a cinema. The 355 is now screening in cinemas nationwide.