I wanted to open this weeks recommendation with a meme, written by the brilliant @inkybarracuda, which I think perfectly encapsulates the state of female-led spy films in recent years. Maybe this is an exaggeration. But after watching the trailers for;
Red Sparrow - Red Sparrow | Official Trailer [HD] | 20th Century FOX
Atomic Blonde - Atomic Blonde (2017) Trailer 1 (Universal Pictures) HD
Proud Mary - Proud Mary Trailer #1 (2018) | Movieclips Trailers
If you are really bored, I would suggest you go and watch the trailers and note all of the similarities between them, which is unfortunately too easy, or if you really don’t feel like clicking on all of these links and watching all of these trailers then you can just take what I’m about to tell you at face value.
These are all basically the same movie. And their worst crime apart from being painfully unoriginal and derivative is their treatment of their female leads. These films all exercise what I personally consider to be false female empowerment. Which is the idea that “If we have a female character that beats up men and uses her sexuality as a weapon then she must be a feminist character!” This...is….blatantly wrong and shows that these writers clearly failed to pay attention in their screenwriting classes when it came to the unit on character development.
I offer an alternative to this overplayed sexy spy trope with a gritty, realistic, and hopefully well-written narrative.
The Operative is directed and written by Israeli director Yuval Adler. The film stars Diane Kruger, Martin Freeman, and Cas Anvar. The film is based on the novel The English Teacher which was written by Yiftach Reicher Atir, a former intelligence officer for the Israeli army. The film follows Diane Kruger's character as an undercover former agent who we travel with and watch as she experiences the true pressures of undercover life. This film looks magnificent and is the anti all of the previous films that I just described. It is at least endeavoring to be fresh and authentic. Check out the trailer to see a female-led spy movie that is, hopefully, going to flip the script.