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The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018; Dir. Susanna Fogel) - A Crazy Dumb Exciting Spy Action Comedy

Updated: Jan 18

The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018; Dir. Susanna Fogel) - A Crazy Dumb Exciting Spy Action Comedy
FILE PHOTO: A Poster of THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME (2018; Dir. Susanna Fogel). ©Imagine Entertainment

This film 《行動代號:特工ex》 is based on the Snowden incident of 2013, and it is an action comedy distortion of it in a pro-Snowden way. Kate McKinnon(1984-)'s outstanding comedy performance is this film's core value. And this is clearly a pro-Snowden film. A turning point in public view about the Snowden incident. 

The story is about CIA agent Drew Thayer stealing the Prism information from a USB to sell it to a terrorist organization 'High Land', and he asks his girlfriend Audrey Stockton to get it delivered to his contact in Vienna. After they are assaulted by the CIA and MI6 (UK) in her room, Audrey gets her best friend Morgan Freeman (the name is the same as the famous actor) to go to Europe for the promise. On the road, they must face MI6's retrieval operation, which is led by Wendy, conducted by Sebastian Henshaw, and assassination attempts by the killing machine Nadedja and her High Land terrorists. In this film, MacGuffin is the USB data in a trophy. 

First, in political contexts, CIA and MI6 staff do not directly undertake any dirty work like in this film. Instead, assassination attempts are made by their recruited agents who are expendable in any case. Thus, this kind of fictional reality should be seen as 007-like reality in film. It is fiction, anyway. 

Surprisingly, it seemed quite impossible that the US films Snowden as a hero. However, this film actually depicted Snowden as a supporter of the protagonists when Morgan, Sebastian and Audrey need to decry the USB data from the NSA. We can say this is a pro-Snowden film, even though Snowden getting involved in this story is a weak point in the plotting of this story structure. A miracle device was used in this Snowden involvement. 

For Kate McKinnon, her comedic talent is fully used in this film. Her gags are well edited by rhythmical reverse cutting in a cinematically comfortable way. For instance, the car sequence in Prague is the best one in the entire film. And Hong Kong audiences' emotional responses to it are also quite positive. Her quality performance can also be seen in Ghostbusters (2016) as Jillian Holtzmann. I personally prefer her acting and buying a movie ticket just to enjoy her comedian talent. 

Besides Snowden's involvement, other weak points in this film are 1) 'One Year Ago', a flush back, which is completely unable to recognize the division between the past and the present in the action; 2) Nadedja is too weak as an antagonist, and Ivanna Sakhno is look like Chloë Grace Moretz in Let Me In (2010); 3) Typage between Sebastian Henshaw and Drew Thayer is a failure. It should cast completely different types of actors. 

In spite of the pros and cons, The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018) is a well-made spy comedy action film as a whole. Kate McKinnon's comedic talent saved the film's fortune at the box office globally. From a political point of view, it is a turning point in the public view of American people about Snowden. Hollywood is now standing with Snowden. Snowden gets a positive role in a Hollywood blockbuster. It is a social signal and the CIA also gave the message through this film to him. I believe the real Snowden will enjoy this film in Russia. 


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The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018; Dir. Susanna Fogel) - A Crazy Dumb Exciting Spy Action Comedy


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