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Film Review: Red Notice

Director:    Rawson Marshall Thurber

Cast:    Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot, Ritu Arya, Chris Diamantopoulos, Ivan Mbakop, Vincenzo Amato, Rafael Petardi

Rating:    M

Running Time:    118

Australian Distributor:    Netflix

 

Not only is Netflix’s Red Notice starring three of the biggest names in Hollywood at the moment – the film itself is the most expensive Netflix film ever made with a budget of around US$160 million. The good news is that this time we also have a big budget film that works in every single way.

Directed and written by Rawson Marshall Thurber, Red Notice begins with Special Agents John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson –Moana) and Urvashi Das (Ritu Arya – The Umbrella Academy) hot on the heels of notorious art and relic thief Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool) as he is about to steal one of Cleopatra’s rare golden eggs.

However when Hartley suddenly finds himself named as an accomplice of Booth’s he suddenly has to find himself teaming up with Booth and going up against his arch rival, The Bishop (Gal Gadot – Wonder Woman), in a bid to find the other golden eggs and clearing his name. 

The plot of Red Notice seems simple but it’s not. Thurber’s screenplay is intricate with twists and turns galore that are forever catching their audience off guard. You could forgive a film starring three big names if it decided to become a walking cliché but that is something that Red Notice certainly never does. Instead it becomes a smart film that seems like a cross between Ocean’s Eleven and  Indiana Jones and somehow manages to work to the point that it is sure to become one of the most memorable films of 2021.

As a film it is sleek – really sleek. The screenplay delivers a believability to it while its action set pieces look so good they could have been taken straight from a Bond film – there are fast cars, ritzy locations and chases galore, and somehow it all comes together to create something quite magical. Some people maybe a little worried about seeing Rawson Marshall Thurber’s name as director given that his last action film – Skyscraper – was such an awful clichéd mess, but Thurber has obviously learnt from his mistakes because Red Notice is flawless. 

In fact one of the things that makes this film so special is the fact that Thurber has mixed genres so well together his past. While everybody wants to forget Skyscraper we need to remember that Thurber is also the man responsible for the best comedies of the last decade – We’re The Millers. That brilliant comedic timing is certainly present here in Red Notice, the film contains some absolute zingers with dialogue – and this is one time when outside the Deadpool universe where Ryan Reynolds smart-ass routine actually works well and enhances his character. You get a strong feeling while watching the film part of Reynolds’ performance working so well most likely comes back to Thurber’s screenplay.

The other thing that makes Red Notice work so well are the performances of its stars. Gadot, Johnson and Reynolds have a special magic between them that makes them one of the best ensembles we have seen over recent years. Whether it be delivering comedic lines between each other and locked in battle with some spectacular fight sequences these three work together brilliantly well. Gadot cements herself as a screen siren who can deliver both action and drama with her role of The Bishop while Johnson once again mixes action and comedy together brilliantly well and shows why he deserves to be called the biggest star in Hollywood at the moment.

Red Notice is perhaps one of the biggest surprises of 2021. This is one slick action/crime flick that also contains just the right amount of humour without tripping itself it. Its three leads bring their A-Game and they are working with a screenplay that delivers a truly memorable heist film. This is an amazing film and once again Netflix have delivered a game-changer in the cinematic universe.



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