|Running time:||114 minutes|
|Release date:||01 november 2023|
Mélanie Laurent's Wingwomen brilliantly sets itself apart from action comedies that follow the same predefined formula, offering a unique and refreshing take on the typical Hollywood formula. Directed by Mélanie Laurent, who made her name with her role in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds and is now establishing herself as a seasoned director as well as an excellent actress. This French production dares to defy convention and stereotype, and captures our interest without a false note.
The film follows the story of three experienced thieves, led by veteran thief Carole, played by Mélanie Laurent herself. She's a solid, chiseled character, with a strong presence that adds depth to the film. Her best friend, Alex (Adèle Exarchopoulos), an expert sniper and inveterate flirt, complements Carole's character to perfection. Manon Bresch completes the trio as a spirited race car driver. What sets Wingwomen apart is its commitment to portraying these women as multi-faceted individuals. They're not just one-dimensional action heroines, but relatable, funny and authentically themselves. Christophe Deslandes and Cédric Anger's script, based on the comic strip La Grande Odalisque by Jérôme Mulot, Florent Ruppert and Bastien Vivès, perfectly blends the concept of Les Drôles de Dames with that of a True Lies for women.
Alex, played with charm and charisma by Adèle Exarchopoulos, is without doubt the heroine of this film. Her character moves seamlessly from flirtation to action, making her the source of the film's dynamism, sensuality and humor. In one memorable scene, she turns a romantic encounter into a moonlit fight, highlighting her transformation from timid playgirl to seasoned killer. It's a moment that truly embodies female emancipation in the action genre.
The film's plot centers on thief leader Carole's desire to leave the criminal world after discovering she's pregnant. This triggers a conflict with Marraine, a Sapphic mafia boss played by Isabelle Adjani, who demands one last heist in Corsica as a condition for Carole's release. While the premise paves the way for potential feminist emancipation and a unique twist on the action-movie formula, the film's execution leaves something to be desired.
Wingwomen struggles to fully realize its strong potential due to a flat tone and a style that, at times, seems derivative. The action scenes are successful but unremarkable, and the humor, while occasionally effective, sometimes falls flat. There are nods to other action films like John Wick and "Kill Bill," but they're not always perfectly integrated into the story. What's more, the Netflix production seems to have sapped some of the film's energy, as is sometimes the case with other action comedies from this streaming platform, making it less lively than it could have been.
Despite these shortcomings, Wingwomen manages to strike a balance between action and emotion, offering a deeper look into the lives of its female characters. The unexpected twist at the end of the film adds an emotional layer that is both surprising and engaging. It's a moment that takes you by surprise and leaves a lasting impact, making you want to see the film again.
In a landscape cluttered with action films, Wingwomen may not be many viewers' first choice. However, it's worth seeing for its strong cast and the dynamic between the leading ladies. Mélanie Laurent's direction, along with performances from Adèle Exarchopoulos, Manon Bresch and the rest of the cast, elevate the film and offer a new perspective on what it means to be a kick-ass woman in the criminal world. While it doesn't reinvent the genre, Wingwomen offers a captivating and entertaining experience that challenges stereotypes and empowers its female characters in ways that deserve recognition.
Directed by Mélanie Laurent
Produced by Sidonie Dumas, Guillaume Colboc
Written by Christophe Deslandes, Cédric Anger
based on the comic strip La Grande Odalisque by Jérôme Mulot, Florent Ruppert and Bastien Vivès
Starring Mélanie Laurent, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Manon Bresch, Isabelle Adjani, Félix Moati, Philippe Katerine
Music by Archive
Cinematography : Antoine Roch
Edited by Audrey Simonaud
Production companies : Gaumont, Netflix France
Distributed by Netflix
Release date : 114 minutes
Running time : November 1 2023 (World)
Viewed: November 1 2023 (Netflix)