Female Agents

Film, Action and adventure
2 out of 5 stars
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Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars
Or ‘Band of Sisters’. 1944: a team of female French evacuees, led by Sophie Marceau’s battle-weary resistance fighter, are hired by the Special Operations Executive to infiltrate a Nazi hospital and retrieve a geologist who holds information key to the impending Normandy landings. But, following possibly the least subtle rescue attempt in espionage history, the mission is compromised and this well-scrubbed half-dozen are forced to flee to Paris, evading the Gestapo and plotting the murder of villainous Oberst Heindrich (a sneering Moritz Bleibtreu).

‘Female Agents’ is a proud throwback to the classic wartime spy thriller, tossing in all the expected plot twists, double crosses and foot chases. But it never manages to capture the spirit of its forebears thanks to a plodding script, uninspired direction and some unintelligible narrative convolutions. The (notably male) filmmakers’ attitude towards their heroines is oddly skewed: Marceau’s ball-busting Louise cuts a fine figure, but her sister agents are a useless bunch.

Variously weak, flighty and treacherous, they tend to spend much of their time stripping off and being tortured– there are some troubling scenes, culminating in a tasteless naked suicide loaded with redundant religious symbolism. There’s a fair amount to appreciate here, much of it cosmetic: the period recreation is superb, and the striking central cast carry off their dashing ’40s couture with aplomb. But one can’t help feeling that the heroines who inspired the story deserve a more spirited tribute than this coarse, derivative girl’s-own adventure.

Posted:

Details

Release details

Rated:
15
Release date:
Friday June 27 2008
Duration:
117 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Jean-Paul Salomé
Screenwriter:
Agnes Claverie
Cast:
Sophie Marceau
Julie Depardieu
Marie Gillain
Déborah François
Moritz Bleibtreu