Red Joan Reviews
Nate's Grade: C
Thought provoking, and well acted.
As many movies do these days it goes back and forth between Joan Stanley in her 80s and Joan in her 20s, played by Sophie Cookson, which would have been more effective after the opening seeing Joan being arrested for being a spy during WW 2. Cookson could have easily aged as the story is told and brought off a coup that has been done by others.
It supposedly 'inspired by the true story' of a KGB spy Melita Norwood though her name is never mentioned. She a graduate student at Cambridge in physics and gets involved with 3 men--I think--and soon rationalizes passing off papers about the atomic bomb that she feels would put Rusian on equal footing with the USA.
With all respect, if Judi had made fewer appearances it might have made more clear who became her husband and who was the father of her son played by Ben Miles. The other men in her life are played by Tom Hughes and Stephen Campbell while Tereza Srbova becomes her friend and introduces her to her cousin Leo with whom Joan has an affair with and begins getting involved with the politics of the time.
I had many questions regarding who she had affairs with, who the father of her son was, whom she married, how did she get back from Australia and why was she forgotten so many years.
"Red Joan" is a typical Britsh quiet spy movie without the noise and fast pace of the Bond movies. It also is bringing out of the closet many stories about women who did a lot during the war but were not giving respect as the men were during that era. She was just a woman who got the tea instead of supplying the important answers that the world was asking for.
For me it just makes me want to find out who the true Melita Norwood was an what happened to her.
Joan Stanley (Judi Dench) is a widow living out a quiet retirement in the suburbs when, shockingly, the British Secret Service places her under arrest. The charge: providing classified scientific information´┐ 1/2"including details on the building of the atomic bomb´┐ 1/2"to the Soviet government for decades. As she is interrogated, Joan relives the dramatic events that shaped her life and beliefs: her student days at Cambridge, where she excelled at physics while challenging deep-seated sexism; her tumultuous love affair with a dashing political radical (Tom Hughes); and the devastation of World War II, which inspired her to risk everything in pursuit of peace. [IFC Films]
So interesting to see the unlikely story unfold!
Great acting. It's interesting to see Judy Dench playing a very different role.
The acting was good for the most part, but I felt that Sophie Cookson gave a bland and lacklustre performance.
The characters were steady for the most part, but nothing that special or memorable.
The film also had some good cinematography with some cool shots of the scenery.
I personally liked the war and modern settings of the film and thought that they were pulled off quiet nicely.
The set design and props were strong for the most part, but nothing really that special.
The costume design like the set design and props were strong and fit the era nicely.
The style of the film was okay; I liked the colour scheme for the most part, but for most of the film it felt bland and uninteresting.
The dialogue was steady and fit the era, but nothing really that memorable.
The editing at points felt choppy, but for the most part it was sound.
The music of the film I personally liked and thought that it fit very well into the background.
The story was strong for the most part, but I felt that the characters and pacing of the film distracted me from the story.
The film did have some okay comedy, but it was very far and between.
In my opinion the film has some strong atmosphere here and there especially a scene in which Joan Stanley is trying to look for her friend Sonya.
The film toward the end also was a little emotional but It didn't really work for me.
The film also drags on a lot and is something that I wouldn't really watch again.
Over all I give it a 4/10 - not bad, but not good