Red Joan | Chicago Reader
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Red Joan

This tony docudrama is loosely based on the life of Melita Norwood, a British woman who smuggled state secrets to the Soviets from the 1930s to the 1970s and wasn’t exposed until 1999. Given the facts of Norwood’s life, the film would almost have to be interesting; it’s engaging on a narrative level, but that’s about all. Lindsay Shapero’s script (adapted from a novel by Jennie Rooney) introduces a potentially interesting approach to the heroine, playing up her romanticism and independent spirit while keeping her political convictions ambiguous. Yet Trevor Nunn’s generically handsome direction, devoid of personal feeling, has the effect of paving over any nuance there is to the writing. Every plot point and every character insight gets delivered with the same manufactured smoothness; the movie is naggingly bland in the way one associates with “respectable” British cinema. With Sophie Cookson, Tom Hughes, and Judi Dench.



  • Trevor Nunn


  • Judi Dench
  • Sophie Cookson
  • Tom Hughes
  • Stephen Campbell Moore
  • Laurence Spellman
  • Alfie Allen


  • Lindsay Shapero


  • Alice Dawson
  • Andrew Boswell
  • Cleone Clarke
  • David Parfitt
  • Ivan Mactaggart
  • James Atherton
  • Jan Pace
  • Karl Sydow
  • Kelly E. Ashton
  • Sunny Vohra
  • Tim Haslam

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