The lively, ingeniously structured, tragicomic axis network of Olivier Asaas joins the ranks of major films for international espionage, in part because he refuses to act as they normally do. Adapted from Fernando Morais's book, The Last Cold War Soldiers, this is a fascinating true story created at a time when the Berlin Wall fell and many suggested that Fidel Castro's communist regime in Cuba would fall shortly thereafter. The fact that so many are filmed on location in the lively, collapsed Havana is just one reason why everything looks so authentic.
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After going through the first hour of the movie, everything comes into place with a sudden split screen and a caption that rewinds the story to "four years earlier."
Another defective pilot (Wagner Moura of Narcos) charms and marries a social climber in Miami (Anna de Armas from Blade Runner 2049). He also agrees to fly for the Castro faction, but while Renee is in it for the good of his fellow "Cubans", his new pal is more interested in the money that must be made and the designer clothes and jewelry he can to do buy with it. This is why the low prevalence of drugs and informing the FBI from outside are so tempting.
It's not easy to keep track of men's work and contacts in the overcrowded and episodic first hour, but then everything clicks into place with a sudden split screen, sound, the sound of a guitar surf and an inscription that rewinds the story to "four years earlier. " This is the introduction of Scorsese into the Wasp network itself, a spy ring run by the gray-haired, hairy Cuban Secretary of the Gael Garcia Bernal Service. The network is made up of a handful of pro-Castro agents who have been sent to Miami to monitor and report on anti-Castro agents in the city. And that means – without giving too much away – most of the characters who have been in the movie so far have pretended to be something they are not. The rug is well and truly torn under your feet and you never regain your balance.
Assayas' sophisticated, balanced film forces the viewer to reassess who is on whose side – and whether you should also be on their side.  If the rest of the Wasp Network is still difficult to follow, this is the question. Assayas plunges us into a world where several different groups all believe that they are heroes and where identity and attachment do not remain the same for long. This is a world where Bill Clinton and Fidel Castro appear on television and each one of them sounds as if he has a moral high ground. There are cleverly choreographed spy movie pieces: the re-creation of the 1997 bombings in Cuba is unbearably tense. But unlike a typical spy movie, Assayas' complex and balanced film forces the viewer to reassess who is on whose side and whether you should be on their side as well.
Then there is the question of women and children. While Renee is on a bold mission in Florida, Olga raises her daughter on her own, hoarding herself in fur and ostracizing herself in Havana for being the traitor's wife. Life becomes even more challenging for her in the years to come – and Cruz conveys Olga's strength and suffering with equal intensity. Very few spy movies give so much time to spy families, not to mention their childcare. Very few make us think so hard about the victims that are being made, the ethical problems they face, and whether the triumphant peaks of work are worth the daring lows. Despite all this, the Wasp Network is still a fun and often glamorous cloak and dagger thriller where the sun always shines and the actors are beautiful. But it offers a rare idea of what it can be like to be an undercover agent, and it's not that fun or glamorous at all.
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