Shoot, punch and bomb. This is perhaps the best way to describe the two hours of “The Hidden Agent”, a Netflix movie that debuts this week and that distances itself from most of the platform’s original productions not only for its frenetic, screen-worthy action, but for the fat budget, the company’s biggest so far.
It took US$ 200 million – or more than R$ 1 billion – to ensure that entire buildings exploded, cars spun through the air and even a derailed cable car brought down facade after facade in the center of a picturesque European city.
All this while Ryan Gosling travels through several countries, accompanied by an equally starry – and expensive – cast. The antagonist for his good guy is another heartthrob, Chris Evans, and the main trio is complete with Ana de Armas, one of the new promises of Hollywood.
“I never imagined that I would make an action movie, that I would be an action star. I grew up watching soap operas in Cuba, you know, so that kind of film, for me, was way beyond my reach, it didn’t relate to me,” he says. the Cuban actress. “Now, out of nowhere, here I am playing this amazing, strong, badass woman. I got a taste of that in the last James Bond movie and now I’ve been able to expand that side of my career.”
At 34, Armas has become one of Hollywood’s new “it girls”, after stealing the spotlight in films such as “Blade Runner 2049”, “Wasp Network: The Spy Network”, “Knives and Secrets”, “Water Deep ” and the aforementioned “007: No Time to Die”. Later this year, she is expected to open the door to the industry’s grand prix awards with another Netflix partnership, “Blonde,” in which she will resurrect Marilyn Monroe.
In “Hidden Agent”, she is a kind of secret agent who helps the protagonist played by Gosling, another member of an elite group of the CIA who discovers a plot to put an end to her work and that of her colleagues.
Hot on his heels is the character of Evans, a professional assassin hired by the same CIA to do the sort of thing the agency considers too dirty. That’s why Armas’ character constantly needs to save her colleague, which the actress celebrates, as she ends up not being reduced to a romantic interest role, as is the case with many women in this testosterone-exhaling genre.
To orchestrate this symphony of gunfire and explosions, Netflix co-opted brothers Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, who rose to fame helping shape the so-called Marvel Cinematic Universe, directing the Captain America films and the billionaire “Avengers: Endgame.”
According to Chris Evans, who wore the uniform of the most American of superheroes, it was different working with the filmmaking duo now, compared to the distant year of 2014, when “Captain America 2 – The Winter Soldier” was released.
“Now there was more familiarity, a more comfortable atmosphere. And you could see that the Russos were more comfortable taking risks. In our first movie together, they were desperate to prove themselves. They were the new guys coming to the playground, so people still wanted to know what they had to offer,” says Evans. “In this new movie we were practically having fun, because they now know they deserve to be here.”
“Hidden Agent”, by the way, appears as an attempt by Netflix to establish its own cinematic universe – nothing more natural, therefore, than the invitation made to the Russo brothers –, at a time when streaming platforms are trying to create successful franchises, capable of mobilizing legions of fans to keep their loyal subscribers. Netflix, for example, announced just this week that it lost about a million subscribers in the last quarter.
With such a budget, it’s clear that the on-demand giant has staked a lot on the feature – but it will now be up to the public to pay that bet, as critics have been blasting the film, which soured with just 53% approval on the show. online review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Had this been a release for movie theaters, it is likely that the note would scare off a good number of viewers.
But that’s the streaming-free zone, where audience data isn’t usually revealed and where customers, having already paid the monthly subscription fee, are often more likely to see what the algorithms suggest. And Netflix has invested heavily in the “Hidden Agent” campaign.
Not only her, but the names of the cast also prove the high expectations for the feature. In addition to Gosling, Evans and Armas, Regé-Jean Page, just out of “Bridgerton” and raised to heartthrob by the platform itself, is Billy Bob Thornton and, in a nod to international markets, the Indian Dhanush and the Brazilian Wagner Moura.
The latter has a small part as a clumsy guy who forges passports and appears there for the middle of “Hidden Agent”, to help Gosling’s character travel without being located. Caricatured, Laszlo Sosa wears heavy glasses, walks with a limp, has a heavy accent and 20 kilos less than Wagner Moura before the recordings.
“I wanted the character to be a counterpoint to all the testosterone in the film. A fragile type, who didn’t arouse any threat to Ryan’s character. Little by little, that crazy figure appeared”, says the actor, who also highlights that the Russo brothers gave the cast a lot of creative freedom, encouraging them to improvise on stage.