Release Date: 19 June 2020
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Director: Olivier Assayas
Writer: Olivier Assayas
Stars: Ana de Armas, Edgar Ramírez, Penélope Cruz
The story of five Cuban political prisoners who had been imprisoned by the United States since the late 1990s on charges of espionage and murder.
Rene Gonzalez (Edgar Ramírez) is a Cuban pilot who leaves behind his wife (Penelope Cruz) and his young daughter when he flees from the communist island in search of freedom and a new life in the United States in the early 1990s. But Rene is not the upstart American he appears to be. After joining a group of Cuban exiles in South Florida who call themselves the Wasp Network - led by undercover agent Manuel Viramontez, alias Gerardo Hernandez (Gael Garcaa Bernal) -, René becomes a pro-Castro spy with a mission: Observe and infiltrate Cuban-American terrorist groups that want to attack the Socialist Republic.
Presented at the last Venice Festival, the French filmmaker Olivier Assayas (Personal Shopper, Double lives) writes and directs this film about the group of Cuban intelligence agents called 'The Five'. Based on the real history and the book "The last soldiers of the Cold War" by Fernando Morais, the director tells us the chronicles of this network of exiles who spied on anti-Castro terrorist groups and who were arrested in Florida in September 1998 , accused of various illegal activities. A script that seems to want to cover too much and that nevertheless does not finish getting into some characters and moments that are supposed to be essential for this anti-imperialist plot.
Olivier Assayas is surrounded by an excellent choral cast made up of Spanish and Latin American interpreters. Thus, the feminine presence of the film is provided by an always correct Penelope Cruz acquiring the Cuban accent, and the ubiquitous Ana de Armas (Daggers in the Back, Sergio), whose fame has risen as the lather at a dizzying pace. On the other hand, playing the three main members of the group, we find a discreet Edgar Ramirez (Resistencia, The Last Days of the Crime), a Wagner Moura (Narcos, Sergio) who seems to have finally improved his Spanish, and a Gael García Bernal (Ema, Accusada) somewhat wasted.
'The Wasp Network' is a strange mix of genres that sometimes seem too unrelated to each other. The film goes from melodrama to action and from thriller to a curious fusion between documentary and 'mockumentary' in a matter of seconds, giving the impression of being made up of pieces by various directors. In addition, it has a visible scent to a television pilot episode. Not because of its forms, but because of the number of characters, subplots and data that Assayas wants to show and that would work perfectly as a series. Despite this, it has the virtue of being correct entertainment thanks to a rhythm that hardly declines.
Reviewed by: Greg Becker
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