Carole and Alex are expert thieves, teammates, confidantes and best-friends. Tired of constantly risking their lives for the next job, the two decide to pull one last heist before they can retire and rope in a newbie called Max for help. But their boss has other plans for them.
Mélanie Laurent directs and stars in the women-led action film “Wingwomen” (original title: Voleuses) which beautifully portrays female friendships but has a pretty familiar plot – protagonists who want to pull off one last daring theft before they hang their boots. The movie opens with a tense yet comical sequence, where Carole (Mélanie) is running through a forest after successfully stealing diamonds, while her partner Alex (Adèle Exarchopoulos) is waiting with their getaway vehicle, fretting over boyfriend issues instead of worrying about their escape. It’s easy to get distracted as a viewer at the beginning, wondering why neither of them was wearing masks, helmets, scarves, or anything to hide their identities or protect their heads from gunfire. They eventually don helmets, but only after all the firing is over. Basically, the story is quite exaggerated, but well, that’s typical of most action movies in this genre.
Carole is the doer, who gets the job done, while Alex is her ears, eyes and sniper; together the two women make a near perfect team, but Carole recruits Max (Manon Bresch), a stunt motorcyclist, for their next assignment, as Alex’s driving skills aren’t as excellent as her sharpshooting acumen. Three feisty women pulling off heists for an evil master might sound a bit like ‘Charlie’s Angels’; however, ‘Wingwomen’ is refreshingly sunny in its exploration of bonds between women, giving viewers a trio of friends who define ‘friendship goals’ in many ways. In an intriguing addition, even their overlord is a woman – Isabelle Adjani plays a character referred to as ‘Godmother’, who assigns jobs to Carole. The Godmother isn’t happy with Carole & Alex’s plan to retire and serves as the primary antagonist in this action-comedy.
Mélanie Laurent, who was last seen in another Netflix action-comedy “Murder Mystery 2”, is charming as Carole and gives off “big sister” vibes; while Adèle Exarchopoulos is even more endearing as the fiercely loyal Alex, who instantly becomes jealous of the new member, Max, much like a child’s reaction to a new family member. Manon Bresch might be the last entrant to the team as Max, but the gorgeous actor has great screen presence and it was entertaining to see her blossom from a nervous rookie to a more confident gang-member. The trio embarks on a short vacation before their inaugural heist together, deepening their bonds. Alex pushes Max to undergo intensive training for their upcoming adventures, a part that felt akin to watching ‘The Karate Kid,’ but with two women of nearly the same age, offering a refreshing twist.
With a 2-hour runtime, ‘Wingwomen’ maintains a reasonable pace for the most part. However, it might feel slow for those who expect an adrenaline-pumping action flick filled with constant blood, guns, and deaths. Although, thanks to Alex’s love for guns, there’s definitely a lot of shooting throughout the runtime, even though you won’t see limbs and body parts flying about. The cinematography was a mixed bag, while some of the indoor scenes were too dim and warm in tone, a lot of the outdoor videography was aesthetically pleasing. There’s a striking flamenco scene in the middle of the film, with Manon Bresch as the lady dancer and Carole as the baialora (male dancer). They perform on a road strewn with autumn leaves, for a group of goons, and the entire sequence is chef’s kiss, accompanied by the soulful sounds of a moody guitar in the background. At least, it was my favorite scene from the film, a moody-magical dance that’s soon followed by violence.
The last 15-20 minutes of ‘Wingwomen’ feel like you’re watching a completely different movie as the mood becomes quite serious and dramatic. While the dialogues weren’t exactly rib-tickling earlier either, there was at least a consistent light-hearted atmosphere for the majority of the runtime, which is nowhere to be seen in the climax. There are a bunch of twists towards the end, all of them were surprising, yes, but that doesn’t mean they were good surprises. Overall, “Wingwomen” doesn’t have a lot of novelty to offer in terms of story, but the friendship and chemistry between the lead actors make it worth a watch.
Rating: 6 on 10. Stream the film on Netflix.
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