The 355 is an American spy-action thriller directed by Simon Kinberg and screenplay by Theresa Rebeck. The movie will be released on 7th January 2022. The movie is produced by Universal studio. The world of espionage has always been a matter of curiosity to people. The dark and shady world, secret agents, secret murders, preventing global crises, all this sounds very fascinating compared to a normal life.
During the world war, espionage became important. It was an era of distrust and all countries wanted to climb to the top, beating each other. They wanted to go get their hands on secret weapons, war planning and any individual or country that might be a potential threat. The government would recruit spies who would be undercover, planted as a mole.
Cinema is believed to be a reflection of society and its values and approaches regarding multiple issues. Marginalizing women in film genres that are male-led is an age-old practice. Modern writers and directors are trying to be inclusive by portraying women in roles that they are capable of pulling off.
The 355 is one such great attempt in the genre of a spy thriller. It is completely female-led and from the looks of it, the trailer has created a lot of excitement among movie–lovers.
Plot of The 355
CIA’s Mason / Mace Brown is assigned the task of recovering a stolen top-secret weapon from a mercenary. Upon realizing that she needs help, she extends her team. It includes Marie, a German spy who seems to clash a lot with Mace Khadijah a former ally of British Intelligence and she is very well versed in tech stuff. Then there is Graciela who is an expert psychologist. Finally, there is the mysterious Mi Bin Sheng. Not much is revealed about her character. She is said to track the team’s moves.
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Looking back: Portrayal of Women in male-led action movies
In 1953 came the ultimate spy James Bond. British journalist Ian Flemming created this ideal spy. Bond is someone who is peerless in his job, in addition to being handsome, witty, stylish and an innate charm that will sweep you off your feet. Later Flemming’s work was adapted for multiple movies. Bond movies have a typically British air about them and Bond himself personifies the quote ” Style is the man “.
Deeper thinking of the movies will lead you to disturbing conclusions regarding the portrayal of women. Women were cruelly and pathetically objectified and served decorative purposes. Even though women were given important roles, like Bond’s female counterpart, ultimately they also became ” Bond-girl”.
Unnecessary display of the female body has always been an easy trick for crowd-pulling. Sadly, it’s pretty effective too. Initial action and spy movies followed this disturbing and at times offensive tradition.
Another way of portraying women which were commonly seen is as Damsel in distress. What is more heroic than helping out a weak woman who cannot fight for herself and is unaware of the ways of the world?
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Women in the modern action drama
In modern cinema, a lot of brave filmmakers have come forward and dared to do movies that have women as strong and brilliant protagonists.
Apart from the non-action genre, action movies have strong and efficient women characters. In the Mission impossible series, women characters have always been significant. They played beautifully, just like their male counterparts.
Apart from Mission Impossible, Charlize Theron starring Atomic Blonde, Angelina Jolie starring Salt, Scarlett Johanson’s Black Widow are some of the best examples.
Another amazing movie that traces back to history and tells the story of real women spies during the time of world war, is A Call to Spy.
The idea of The 355
American actress Jessica Chastain is the main driving force of this enterprise. She is one of the producers and co-owners of the movie. While working for the movie Zero Dark Thirty, Chastain first knew about the women spies who were simply brilliant and brave enough to put their life on the line. The name of the movie too has a reason
“355 was the codename for the first female spy during the [American] revolution,” Chastain explains to Empire. “No one knows what her name is: all that we know about her is that she was ‘355’. So, women, today use that 355 monikers as a badge of honour, and a reminder that people are doing the work behind the scenes that aren’t recognised. And they need to be valued.”
Shooting experience of The 355
Since it is an action drama, it’s very common to have extensive fight sequences and thrilling action sequences that put the physical prowess to test. Here is one such shooting experience shared by the kind actress.
” hadn’t realised how tall the building was going to be when [I was saying] ‘I want to do it, I want to do it!’” she recalls. “Our great stunt coordinator, Jimmy, said, ‘Hey, you don’t have to do this, but I could feel the entire crew looking at me and I was like, ‘I’m doing it. And it was really fun.”
Diane Kruger loved working with the team of 355. She was very happy to have found out she was very welcome to bring her kids on the set. She said that the team truly felt like a family.
Chinese actress Fan Bingbing said that she admires the opportunity to learn from the brilliant Jessica Chastain.
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Release Date of The 355
The movie is supposed to release on 7th January 2022.
There couldn’t have been a more important time to release such a movie. As the world has become much more conscious regarding the discrimination against women. Needless to say, we have a long way to go. But these kinds of movies are a great source of inspiration for young girls and women all across.
A completely female-fronted line of defence (done through covert operations) shook the Nazi regime once. Hopefully, this all-female enterprise will finally have the chance to pay tribute to unsung protectresses.