AWFJ Women On Film – “Red” – Review by Susan Granger

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Just because you’re no longer on active duty with the CIA doesn’t mean you’re not a target of a nefarious scheme involving murder. That’s what four ‘older’ agents discover, becoming designated as RED: Retired Extremely Dangerous.

Living in suburban Ohio, Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is so bored that his primary pleasure is calling Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), his flirtatious pension administrator in Kansas City, to report a missing retirement check. As soon as she sends another, he rips it up and calls her again, just to talk. She wistfully yearns for travel and adventure, while he’s just lonely and obviously smitten with her. But when his home is raided by a hit-tech hit squad, he’s determined to discover who wants him dead. Realizing that his phone’s been tapped, placing Sarah’s in danger, he abruptly kidnaps her. Then they’re off on a

whirlwind trip to recruit three former black-ops colleagues – irrepressibly subversive Joe (Morgan Freeman), paranoid crackpot Marvin (John Malkovich) and sophisticated, elegant Victoria (Helen Mirren) – who are also on a mysterious CIA-sanctioned ‘hit list.’

“We getting the band back together,” muses Joe. “With a small, dedicated group, there’s nothing that cannot be accomplished,” adds Ivan (Brian Cox), a vodka-swilling former Russian spy with a soft spot in his heart for Victoria.

Recapturing the excitement of yesteryear, they’re off to infiltrate the Langley lair of the Defense Department records keeper (Ernest Borgnine) and interrogate an arms contractor (Richard Dreyfuss), evoking memories of a secret mission in Guatemala with repercussions leading to the highest echelons of the Executive Branch of our government.

Humorously scripted by Jon and Erich Hoeber, based on the DC Comics graphic novel by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner, and directed by Robert Schwentke (“Flightplan,” “The Time Traveler’s Wife”), it’s a convoluted, adrenaline-pumping, comedic adventure with irresistibly appealing characters whose goofy quirks and pervasive desire to get back into the game are superbly delineated by these veteran


On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “RED” is a crowd-pleasing, amusing 8, pitting wisdom and experience against youthful arrogance and gullibility.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.