Review: Red Notice
Beneath its glitzy cast and financial success, Lucy Evans identifies a distinct lack of focus in Netflix’s recent crime caper.
Red Notice is Netflix’s latest action-comedy and follows an art thief, an FBI agent and a criminal as they race to find a bejeweled egg, each with their own motives. Insider reported that “Netflix said the movie was viewed for 148.72 million hours from Friday through Sunday, making it the company’s biggest opening weekend ever for a movie”. These impressive stats immediately seem to set the film up for an obvious five-star rating but as we delve deeper into the plot, this promise fails to come to fruition.
As its plot initially follows that of a typical heist movie, we must ask: what turned this particular movie into Netflix’s biggest opening weekend? The cast is an obvious draw – with Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson and Gal Gadot making up an impressive lead trio – and is, in fact, the reason I clicked “play”. In particular, Johnson and Reynolds’ partnership is incredibly witty but is peppered with heartfelt moments, adding some depth to their characters. The fictional duo plays largely into the two actors’ archetypes and, as such, neither strays too far from the personas that we know and love. Although we’ve seen Johnson and Reynolds play their roles similarly many times before, it continually works and Red Notice is no exception.
While entertaining, the whole thing felt confused, with every section offering a new twist and lacking any continuity of story.
But the film’s plot falls short of the potential that the cast promises. While entertaining, the whole thing felt confused, with every section offering a new twist and lacking any continuity of story. Though it certainly plays into the energy and action that the heist genre demands and is presumably intended to create the sense of its being a mysterious, comedic thriller, the constant shifts are simply bewildering. The sheer number of times the location of that third bejeweled egg is changed, along with the characters’ ever-shifting relationships, often renders things incredibly jarring. This also meant that there was a lack of any single, clear climax to the film, which instead plays out as several mini climaxes that occur whenever one of these shifts takes place.
Despite this jarring nature and the unsurety felt throughout the film, the last major plot twist left me shocked. Whether it’s my naive inability to guess where things were headed or if the ending really was just that well-constructed, the final plot twist in which Gadot’s Sarah Black is revealed to actually be the significant other and partner-in-crime to Johnson’s John Hartley (subsequently also revealed to be one of the villains of the film) came out of nowhere for me. The film sets us up for a possible romance between the pair, with the odd flirtatious remark and intimate touch weaved throughout the plot, however, this plot twist was unforeseen and added a breath of fresh air to an otherwise standard heist plot.
If you’re looking for a movie that’s slightly more focused and refined in its plotting, maybe give this one a miss. But if you’re looking to see some familiar faces grace your screen on a Sunday afternoon in an entertaining and really quite funny action movie, Red Notice is perfect for you. What’s more, with that ending setting us up perfectly for a sequel, you may well end up seeing the trio on your screens again at some point in the near future.