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

Updated: Aug 4, 2021

#FilmReview #TheSpyWhoDumpedMe #影評 #行動代號特工ex

FILE PHOTO: A Poster of THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME (2018; Dir. Susanna Fogel).  ©Imagine Entertainment
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 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 Snowden incident.

The story is CIA agent Drew Thayer steals the Prism information in USB to sell it to a terrorist organisation 'High Land', and he asks his girlfriend Audrey Stockton to get it delivered to his contact in Vienna. After they are assaulted by CIA and MI6 (UK) at her room, Audrey gets her best friend Morgan Freeman ( the name is the same with the famous actor) to go to Europe for the promise. On the road, they must face MI6's retrieving operation which 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 of all, in reality of political contexts, CIA and MI6 staffs do not directly undertake any dirty works like in this film. Instead, assassination attempts are done by their recruited agents who are expendable in any case. Thus, this kind of fictional reality should be seemed as 007-like reality in film. It is fiction anyway.

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

For Kate McKinnon, her comedian 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 chase 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 involvement, other weak points in this film are 1) 'One Year Ago' flush back which is completely unable to recognise the division between the past and the present in the action progress; 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 pros and cons, The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018) is a well-made spy comedy action film as a whole. Kate McKinnon's comedian talent saved the film's fortune in box office globally. In political point of view, it is a turning point of public view of American people about Snowden. Hollywood is now standing with Snowden. Snowden gets positive role in Hollywood blockbuster. It is a social signal and CIA also gave the message through this film to him. I believe real Snowden will enjoy this film in Russia.


Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to the professional film writer Ryota Nakanishi as author and a link to is provided.

This film article is for educational purpose only.

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