TIFF 2019: Our Review of ‘Wasp Network’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Film Festivals, Movies, Theatrical, TIFF 2019 by - September 15, 2019
TIFF 2019: Our Review of ‘Wasp Network’

In the early 1990’s in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union and its economic collapse, life was complicated.  Particularly if you were Cuban.  Wasp Network tracks the paths of several Cuban intelligence agents posing as dissidents from the ’90s on, the film sheds light on events of enormous consequence to the way we think about terror, the drug trade, and international relations.

There’s no doubt that writer/director Oliver Assayas is one of the more prolific storytellers working today, but he’s got a blind spot and its movies like this.  It simply tries to cram too much detail into a short running time and it makes me hope there a 5 hour/mini-series cut out there somewhere like his Carlos from back in 2010.

Sure it all looks good but as the narrative jumps back and forth from a variety of different locations trying to fit in the stories of these true life characters that Wasp Network gives us it all just feels like a hurried mess rather than allowing moments for these real people to breathe.

The ensemble certainly was loaded with Gael Garcia Bernal, Penelope Cruz and Edgar Ramirez spearheading it all, but there was just such little character development that these people could have arguably been played by anyone.  The narrative was just moving at too fast a pace to let these talented actors.

Ultimately; Wasp Network is an ambitious narrative in a package that is just far too constrained for what it wants to do.

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David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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