Red Notice ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali
An Interpol agent tracks the world’s most wanted art thief. Netflix.
One of the most enjoyable things about this shamelessly disposable heist/action/comedy is to see how critics (pretty much every single one of them) are slashing it to pieces on one side, while at the same time audiences everywhere are finding it immensely enjoyable and raving about it on social media.
The score on Rotten Tomatoes says it all: Critics 36% – Audience 92%. But does anyone really care about critics when it comes to films like these? Clearly not. Least of all the people at Netflix who reportedly spent over $200 million to bring this slick action caper to their streaming platform.
A lot of that budget must surely have gone to secure its three megastars who are called upon to do what they do best, and they deliver with gusto!
Dwayne Johnson in his ‘action man’ mode makes full use of his physical presence, reminding us all why he’s one of the most bankable action leading men around today, while Ryan Reynolds with his silky voice and immense charm spits out one-liners at light speed, because one of them sooner or later will hit the target. Paycheck aside, they seem to be having great fun together and a lot of that chemistry comes across through the screen, however silly the film might be.
And then you have beautiful Gal Gadot, who seems to have just stepped out from the Wonder Woman set to appear in this (and she probably thinks she’s still acting on that other film… not that it would make any difference). And to be honest, that’s all fine. Nobody is really asking them to do anything else but what we are expecting them to do. Not even the makers of this film.
Red Notice is as generic an action flick as they come. It has no specific style, other than some wild drone shots, flying down fast and furious from the sky to follow the action as people jump from roof top to roof top, firing guns left and right and double-crossing one another through one implausible twist after another.
It’s unabashedly over the top and wildly unoriginal, borrowing unapologetically from all sorts of other classics we’ve all seen before. Even the exotic locations serving as spectacular backdrops (possibly all at sunset) are the most un-original you can think of (Rome, Cairo, Bali just to mention a few), but that of course doesn’t make them less beautiful to look at.
And that’s pretty much the spirit of the whole film: make it look good and slick, whatever happens. Don’t ever stop or linger too long. Make it fast and snappy so that people don’t have time to question the ludicrous plot.
Throw in enough action set pieces to wow the audience and, most important, don’t take yourself too seriously so that you can always get back at those critics and tell them: “we knew, we were in on the joke”. At one point Reynolds even whistles the Indiana Jones tune. Get it?
Of course it’s all stupid, of course it doesn’t make any sense at all and of course it doesn’t hold up to any scrutiny, but if you’re willing to go along with it, that’s also part of the fun. It clearly seems to be made by the same algorithm that will help you find it on Netflix, but having said all that, I would be lying if I said I hadn’t enjoyed it. Guilty as charged.
Whether I will remember any of it by this time next week is of course a different thing. And obviously I have no intention of watching it again, but it did the job I was expecting: a perfectly mindless affair to spend a couple of hours on a dull evening or possibly a cold weekend. It’s the equivalent of junk food: you might feel a bit dirty by the end of it, but hey, it’s easy to enjoy while it lasts. Sometimes we all need to turn our brain off. At least I do.
Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.
At time of writing Red Notice has just been released on Netflix and is currently number one in the UK.
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