Red Notice: A Notice to Never Watch

Maya Barany, Writer

 There’s nothing like coming home to sit back, relax, and then desperately slurp content from a screen like a milkshake through a small straw. What better to ease life’s mundane exhaustion than the new action-comedy Red Notice? Surely a film that’s advertised to hell and back, with an A-list cast is going to be a safe bet. I watched Netflix’s latest action-adventure comedy, and I regret every second of it. 

 The story follows FBI profiler John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson) and thieves Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds) and the Bishop (Gal Gadot). Each character wants the other two out of the way to complete a zany little heist to steal three golden artifacts. These pricey Egyptian figurines are in three exotic locales, so the viewer expects to see some interesting scenery and feel a sense of adventure. That expectation turns to ashes in your throat with camerawork that makes Rome look about as interesting as a plate of cold oatmeal. Some billionaire wants the artifacts and is willing to pay. The payout: a billion dollars. And why do these charismatic criminals want the money? Somehow, this 200-million-dollar film can’t produce an answer.  

 Something about the casting really clues you into the hollowness of this film. The more franchise-ridden actors appear on screen, the more it becomes clear you are sitting through a movie meant to sell a click rather than a story meant to entertain. When he puts these actors in such a weak screenplay, they are just as wan and bleary eyed as the rest of us. 

 Red Notice is the result of “blockbuster” movies in a subscription age. It’s the result of streamers’ desire for an excess of content. Netflix paid its highest budget yet to make something so bland and forgettable that in two weeks it will slip through the cracks between an old kids’ show and some random documentary on the endless scroll. The plot flopped, the characters are forgettable, and the camerawork is subpar. By spending so much money on such an obviously bad film, Netflix and director Rawson Marshall Thurber send a clear message to their audience: hit play and go on your phone.  

 There’s nothing controversial about Red Notice. But nevertheless, it remains glaring on Netflix’s Home Screen, touting adjectives like slick, irreverent, and exciting! Slick: impressively smooth, efficient, effortless. The dialogue is so bad you can see the actors screaming an apology from their eyes as they deliver each hollow quip. Irreverent: outside the box, rebellious, even rude. Don’t kid yourselves; the movie is painfully generic, hitting every heist movie trope it almost becomes a parody of itself. Lastly, exciting! Personally, I have experienced more excitement trying to cut a lawn with craft scissors. 

 This film is a 1/10. Not because I was particularly invested and dissatisfied, but because of the pure shame I felt realizing that I won’t get those two hours back. Movies like this make me think, maybe we need to look at reviews, or at least trust our guts enough to say, “change the damn movie.”