IFC Films has released a new trailer for “Red Joan,” a spy drama starring Oscar winner Judi Dench. She plays Joan Stanley, a widow living out a quiet retirement until the British Secret Service places her under arrest. They charge her with classifying scientific material, such as an atomic bomb, to the Soviet government for decades.
The fact that Dench is still receiving leading roles after over 62 years in the industry is somewhat of a miracle. It’s incredibly hard to maintain longevity in any career, especially acting, so any movie with Dench is already a bit of a treat.
The movie itself? It looks fine. Your interest will vary depending on how much you like the Cold War and atomic bombs. The story is inspired by the life of Melita Norwood, who is regarded in history as “the most important female agent ever recruited by the USSR.” Her story is endlessly fascinating, yet the trailer presents it in a standard Oscar-friendly tone. Complete with swelling music and passionate speeches.
As of this writing, “Red Joan” currently sports a 27% on RottenTomatoes. Critical reaction is somewhat muted, but perhaps the movie will fill the needs of people who love an old fashioned drama.
Trevor Nunn sits in the director’s chair, who also coincidentally directed Dench as Lady Macbeth in 1976 for a Royal Shakespeare Company production of “MacBeth.” This film was also a selection of the 2018 Toronto Film Festival, as well as the 2018 Zurich Film Festival and 2018 Sebastian Film Festival.