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Wasp Network Crams Too Much In  Its Playing-time!



Wasp  Network(Netflix)

Starring Penélope Cruz,Édgar Ramírez, Gael García Bernal,Ana de Armas,Wagner Moura

Directed  by Olivier Assayas

Rating: ** ½

A political thriller that constantly moves between  Fidel Castro’s Cuba and  Bill Clinton’s America creating a  simmering discontent between the  content and the audience. Wasp Network outwardly gives  off the  rugged musk of a political saga well told. But  then time begins to run out  on the  goings-on  and  the actors all in a hurry to find a home(even in  jail) as they   rush us through a  spell  of inclement weather, the  cinematic equivalent  of a  writer’s diarrhea.

Everything gets blurred  in speed  towards the end, though I am not sure if slowing down the  proceedings would have made it better. This is a film that means to be  a well-researched expose  on  the fight of Cuban defectors  in Miami to end Castro’s endless regime.

Director  Olivier Assayas goes  in and out of  various lives threading them together in  a clasp of crisis. But  the sweat on the brow never really translates  into something more substantial. The fear  of fleeing  an oppressive regime never  makes it beyond an   obligatory rush for some edge-of-the-seat moments.

 Sorry to say Wasp Network  never makes it  into  the  heart-in-the-mouth genre  of Argo  or Bollywood’s Airlift.

There is no palpable  danger  in the air, as  René González (Édgar Ramírez) defects from Cuba to Miami in the US. It is hard to feel any sympathy  for a  man who kisses  his wife and  little daughter  goodbye  in the morning in Cuba and  then  calls them later to say he is  in Miami and they can’t join him.

In Miami Rene   befriends like-minded  Cuban rabble-rousers  trying to collect  support to fight  for democracy  in  their  country. While  Rene and  Juan(Wagner Mouran, seen in a better  performance  in the  recent Sergio)    are the key characters their  wives, played by the too beautiful Penelope Cruz and  Ana de Armas,hardly have more  to do than bite their lips  and  pray for their husbands’ wellbeing.

Ms Cruz  does have some  intense dramatic scenes towards the  end as  a defector’s wife defending her  disgraced  husband,. But I found her  level of involvement  pretty low. Everyone seems to have gotten into this political drama  with good intentions  but lost interest mid-way.Towards the end  a  terrorist bomber suddenly joins the cast. He  looks  like he would like to be anywhere but  in the given situation. And  we really can’t blame  him.

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