wasp network netflix

Wasp Network, a new film from director Olivier Assayas, is headed to Netflix next month. Assayas’ film, which stars Penélope Cruz, follows Cuban spies in American territory during the 1990s, and had its premiere at last year’s Venice Film Festival before playing again at the New York Film Festival. In between festival appearances, Assayas re-edited the film.

According to VarietyWasp Network, starring Penélope Cruz, Édgar Ramírez, Wagner Moura, and Gael García Bernal, will hit Netflix on June 19. The film is based on the true story of the Cuban Five, “intelligence officers who were arrested in Florida in the ’90s and later convicted of espionage and other illicit activities.” The story focuses on René González (Ramirez), a Cuban pilot who leaves his wife and daughter behind to start a new life in Miami. After joining forces with a group of Cuban exiles in South Florida, known as the Wasp Network, he becomes part of a spy ring tasked with observing and infiltrating Cuban-American organizations against Fidel Castro.”

I’m a fan of Olivier Assayas’ work – Personal Shopper 4-life – but Wasp Network has had a bumpy road to the screen. In between the Venice Film Festival and the New York Film Festival, Assayas re-edited the film – and that re-edit apparently didn’t make the movie better. The reactions out of NYFF were mixed, with  Marshall Shaffer, reviewing for /Film, writing:

With the exception of scoring some political points at the expense of American hypocrisy, courtesy of a Fidel Castro archival interview, it’s unclear what exactly Assayas is going for by the end in Wasp Network. Was it just for this anti-imperialist stinger at the end? If so, then he probably should have seeded the message a little bit more throughout. Was it just to tell this story? If so, alright, a little out of character and very unexpected. Was it to push himself by shooting a tense thriller in a tough locale? If so, Assayas deserves credit for wanting to shoot the film in Cuba to bring authenticity to the project, but that cannot excuse how dull the finished product is. The complexity of a film’s production and logistics, frankly, matter little when it comes to evaluating it.

Mixed reviews aside, I’ll probably still check this out just because I tend to enjoy Assayas’ films. Fingers crossed that I end up liking this more than some others.

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