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Red Joan (2018)

Biography | 101 minutes
3,19 141 votes

Genre: Biography / Drama

Duration: 101 minuten

Country: United Kingdom

Directed by: Trevor Nunn

Stars: Sophie Cookson, Judi Dench and Tom Hughes

IMDb score: 6,4 (14.300)

Releasedate: 13 September 2018

Red Joan plot

"To change the world, she betrayed her country"

British-born Joan Stanley is a Soviet and sympathizer of the Communist Party. She is conscripted as a civil servant and is recruited by the KGB in the 1930s. She manages to pass on secrets about the nuclear bombs to the Soviet Union and has managed to hide her identity as a spy for more than half a century.

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avatar van Kippie.


  • 418 messages
  • 954 votes

Seen during a visit abroad. While Judi Dench impresses in the little time she has been given, Cookson hovers on the surface and fails to convince. This is not necessarily due to her acting, but due to the cringeworthy script that misses every chance for tension and intrigue. The pace is also greatly taken out of the film by the irritating romantic subplot, which - unjustly - gets more stage than the intriguing espionage story. Pity.

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avatar van mrklm


  • 7971 messages
  • 8079 votes

This film is based on the story of Melita Norwood, who was 87 when the KGB revealed in 1999 that she was involved in an espionage scandal that still divides opinion to this day. The main character in this film is called Joan Stanley [Judi Dench] and she is arrested at an advanced age on suspicion of treason and is subjected to an in-depth interrogation by MI5. In flashback we see how young Joan [Sophie Cookson] comes into contact with members of a communist group in the late 1930s. Joan is a brilliant physicist and gets a job as an assistant to scientist Max Davis [Stephen Campbell Moore], with whom she works in the utmost secrecy to develop a weapon of mass destruction intended to stop countries from attacking each other.

Judi Dench has hardly anything to do in this captivating story that has been edited into something that just doesn't seem to want to decide whether it's a romantic drama or a spy thriller and therefore falls between the cracks. Cookson is charming as young Joan and tries her best, but she too is saddled with a muddled script that, while having some good moments, could (and should) have been many more.

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avatar van Captain Pervert

Captain Pervert

  • 4383 messages
  • 2017 votes

Red Joan is a cheap film with small, simple sets without too much frills. Dame Judi Dench still knows how to intrigue as an old lady who hides more than you would suspect, but the story is rather fragmentary and sometimes goes much too fast.

For example, we see two people who are intensely in love with each other, but because the love is built up in barely one and a half scenes, you don't feel this at all as a viewer.

Also, the main character in one scene is still a first-year student, but three scenes later she is already walking among the state secrets.

Mehhh. 2.5 stars

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original