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Film / Red Notice

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"There's one last thing you should know: trusting a thief can be dangerous."

RED NOTICE (noun): The highest level of arrest warrant issued by The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL). Reserved for the world's most wanted criminals.

Red Notice is a 2021 American action/heist comedy film written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, starring Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot.

An Interpol-issued red notice is a global alert to hunt and capture the world's most wanted. FBI Profiler John Hartley (Johnson) is on the trail of art thief Nolan Booth (Reynolds), who is trying to acquire three golden eggs once owned by Queen Cleopatra. He succeeds in tracking Booth down thanks to information provided by a rival art thief, Sarah "Bishop" Black (Gadot), but after Booth is captured in possession of the first egg, Bishop steals the egg from police custody and frames Hartley for the crime. Arrested and thrown into the same prison as Booth, Hartley is forced to work with the man he just arrested in order to get to the remaining eggs before Bishop does, capture her, and clear his name.

Originally produced by Universal and Legendary Pictures for a theatrical release, the film was released on Netflix on November 12, 2021. Like several of Netflix's other 2021 releases, it had a limited theatrical run in AMC theaters starting on November 5. Two sequels are in development.

Not to be confused with SAS: Rise of the Black Swan, which is known as SAS: Red Notice everywhere except Netflix, which changed the name to avoid confusion with this movie, which was in production at the time it acquired the streaming rights for the other film.

Previews: Trailer 1, TUDUM Exclusive Clip, Trailer 2.

Red Notice provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: Many characters recall having abusive fathers:
    • Booth tells Hartley that his father gave him the silent treatment for a whole year on the suspicion that he had stolen his watch when he was 8. Even when he found out that he simply lost it at work, he never apologised and when Booth attempted to return the favour in kind, he simply sent him off to boarding school.
    • Hartley's father was a conman who abandoned the family when Hartley was 13.
    • The Bishop tells a tied up intelligence analyst that her father gave her a "tough childhood" that made her what she is.
    • Sotto Voce was 14 when his father tried to strangle him. He took after his old man and gain a habit for strangling folks.
  • Action Hero: Hartley, an FBI profiler who's better in combat than Booth. He also manages to take a direct hit from a raging bull and survive. Subverted in that he's not actually a hero
  • Affably Evil: Nolan Booth is Ryan Reynolds portraying an art thief with a reluctance to kill, so naturally he's quite affable in the silly Gentleman Thief sense, and the Bishop herself is refined and polite even when threatening people. As it turns out all of the three protagonists are this in some way; even John Hartley, when he finally reveals his long con, is nothing but affable with Booth and tells him that he and the Bishop have come to deeply respect him.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Booth has a few suggestive comments directed at Hartley, snarking about their "marriage of convenience" and whispering that he must love him when he doesn't arrest him for Das. He also makes some flirtatious comments when first seeing Black.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Booth gets revenge for the Bishops double-crossing him by leaking their bank account number to Interpol, who promptly freeze it. Then he tells them that he has a new, bigger score lined up, that requires three people to pull. The last scene has them outside the Louvre in Paris, presumably getting ready for said score.
  • Argentina Is Nazi Land: The third egg is in a bunker in Argentina built by Hitler's art guy.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Any human being hit head on by a healthy adult male bull would at worst die in an instant, and at best be severely injured. And severely injured means having to be carried out on a stretcher to the ambulance, with life hanging in the balance. Being as big and muscular as Dwayne Johnson does not mean being Made of Iron to the point of being able to get back up and walking like nothing happened.
  • Artistic License – Cars: Yes, of course an 80 year old vintage car that has not been touched or maintained for at least 70 of them would have all its internal and external parts working and have a full tank of gas to be driven away by the protagonists. And the enemy Nazi cars all work perfectly too.
  • Artistic License – Law: Interpol Special Agent is at play, so there are a number of inaccuracies in the film.
    • The movie claims that a red notice is the "highest level" of arrest warrant used by Interpol. In actuality, a red notice is the only one of Interpol's color-coded notices that requests the apprehension of a suspect.
    • Inspector Das sends Hartley and Booth to a Hellhole Prison in Russia so that the experience will soften them up into cooperating. Interpol exists to facilitate cooperation between police forces and doesn't have the authority to arrest and imprison people.note 
  • As Himself: One of the funniest examples of this trope. Ed Sheeran has a cameo as himself... where his song number gets interrupted and he then attempts to fight off Interpol agents with a guitar all while screaming that he was in Game of Thrones.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Both Hartley and Booth wear tuxedos when confronting Sarah Black at Sotto Voce's vault, and they're later seen kicking some ass together.
  • Black-Tie Infiltration: Booth, Hartley and Sarah and dress up in formal clothing so they can blend in Sotto Voce's ball in order to find to get a chance to get to the vault where he keeps the egg.
  • Blatant Lies: When INTERPOL crash Booth's home, Hartley accuses Booth of having stolen a painting at the Tate Gallery. Booth tells him he can't prove that it was him... except that very painting is hanging on his house's wall in plain view.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: The vault in which the second egg is stored in has two explicit and one implicit biometric locks - faceprint, voiceprint, and a twelve digit security code that is randomly generated on a cellphone that is unlocked by fingerprint. Booth lifts a fingerprint off a glass and spoofs the other two using images and recordings found online.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: The three protagonists fight inside Sotto Voce's vault and grab ancient weapons to do so. Sarah grabs a spear, Hartley smashes a glass display to grab a shield... and Booth fails to do the same to get a revolver and settles for a spiked pole weapon.
  • Buffy Speak:
    Booth: I belive in forgiveness. I just don't believe in forgetness.
  • The Caper: Booth and Hartley pull one to break into an arms dealer's personal vault to get the second egg.
  • Car Chase:
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In their labor assignments at the Russian prison, Booth and Hartley must arrange stones to seal a wall, and Booth sets a small stone in the wall to stabilize the rest of the wall. When he and Hartley escape later, he removes the stone, which sends the rest of the wall tumbling down.
    • The soap that Booth rambles on about in the Russian prison is later used to make a bomb.
    • The moment Booth spots the car in the Nazi vault, any Genre Savvy viewer can predict that it's going to be used as an escape vehicle.
  • Chess Motifs:
    • The Bishop is an often neglected Chess piece. It's not as straightforward as the Rook, not as powerful as the Queen, and doesn't possess unique and unconventional traits like the Knight, but a strategically used Bishop becomes a major unseen threat that will turn the tides in an instant, just like Hartley. Bishops are also notably weak without their partner Bishop but can be devastating when used together.
    • Pawns are just means to an end, a stepping stone that can be discarded and taken advantage of just like the many individuals the competing parties used to steal the eggs. But when not careful, a Pawn can be promoted and suddenly turn a winning scenario into a loss, just as Booth got rid of The Bishops' earnings from the heist.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: EVERYONE. Hartley is double-crossing Booth from the start. Hartley has been double-crossing Booth since before ever having met him.
  • Clear My Name: Bishop frames Hartley as a thief, so Hartley spends most of the movie chasing her in order to prove his innocence and get his life back. Ultimately subverted; it turns out that he was secretly Bishop's partner all along - he never was an FBI agent.
  • Collective Identity: There are two bishops on a side in chess: Black and Hartley.
  • The Con: The entire movie was secretly one by Hartley and Black to trick Booth into revealing the location of the third egg.
  • Cool Car: Booth takes a minute to gush over a 1941 Mercedes stored in the same place as the third egg, which he claims he could fence for around $25 million, as the number of them left in the world is in the single digits. He and Hartley end up needing to use it in a Car Chase soon after.
  • Dark Action Girl: Sarah is the world's most wanted art thief but also a massively skilled hand-to-hand combatant capable of fighting two men at once. Although the reveal that Hartley was actually her partner in crime makes you wonder how hard he was trying at the time.
  • Dirty Cop: Averted. Hartley isn't one; in fact, he's not a cop at all.
  • Drugs Causing Slow-Motion: Voce wakes up in a stupor after being drugged and tries to shoot John and Nolan, who are both bound to a pole. Everything is in slow-motion in his perspective.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: The film features views of landmarks of the countries it's set in, such as St. Peter's Basilica and the Sant Angelo Castle in Rome, the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt and the Louvre Museum's glass pyramid in Paris.
  • Embarrassing Browser History: The Bishop forces an INTERPOL agent not to tell anyone she was there by threatening his family, but more importantly, letting him know that she knows his browser history.
  • Excuse Plot: Really, all Hartley and Bishop had to do was let Booth steal the first two eggs and then simply follow him to the third egg's location. Bishop even does so, easily, and so does Interpol. The entire movie is just an excuse to have The Rock and Ryan Reynolds (and for some folks, Gal Gadot) in an action movie/caper together.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Booth is a criminal master thief, but he gradually comes to respect Hartley over the course of the story and even abandons the third egg just to save him from drowning (even though Hartley had safely gone to shore then). There's also Bishop and Hartley, who are nothing but in love with each other.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: During the chase scene through the Argentine mines, an enemy car explodes after sustaining a few seconds' worth of machine gun fire.
  • Evil All Along: Hartley was working with the Bishop the whole time.
  • Evil Brit: Sotto Voce is a sadistic Arms Dealer with a British accent.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Ultimately this is a film without any heroes (except Das and Hartley), but on the plus side they're all Affably Evil, and Booth at least is a charismatic Anti-Villain who doesn't try to hurt anyone in his crimes, just steal priceless items for money and the thrill. And then it turns out Hartley was in cahoots with the Bishop the whole time.
  • Eye Contact as Proof: Hartley tells Das to look him in the eyes as proof that he's not a thief. She still doesn't believe him. Possibly because he really is a thief.
  • Foreshadowing: There are many hints foreshadowing the big twist, serving as a Rewatch Bonus. So many in fact that Honest Trailers was able to do a whole montage of them on their honest trailer for the movie.
    • The method the Bishop used to frame Hartley makes no sense, as it would only have worked to get him arrested initially. Once that happened, it would have been all too easy for Hartley to contact the FBI and prove his identity... had he been a real FBI profiler.
    • Hartley saying "I'm the bad guy."
    • Hartley managed to swipe Sotto Voce's phone from him in an impressive display of close-contact pickpocketing. Not exactly a skill that an FBI agent needs for the field.
    • Inspector Das saying she hadn't heard of Hartley before the latest robberies.
    • Hartley himself points out that chess is played with two Bishops.
    • Hartley's willingness to shoot at law enforcement officers, be they the guards at the Russian prison or the Argentinian cops accompanying Inspector Das to arrest them in the Nazi treasure vault.
    • The logo the Bishop sends to agent Das can be either seen as a bishop chess piece moving back and forth or two bishops alternating.
    • When confronting Sarah in Sotto Voce's vault, after she grabs a lance, Harley breaks the glass to recover a shield. It's very close to him, but he has actual weapons within reach (Booth immediately goes for a gun). This way he and Sarah can pretend to fight while minimizing the risks of actually injuring each other.
    • When Das catches up to the three of them in the Vault, there's no reason for Hartley to keep aiding Booth and definitely no reason to help Bishop escape. Once he grabbed the machine gun, he could have turned it on Bishop and forced her to surrender to Interpol, where she could have cleared him. That he didn't, and instead teamed up with her to escape, is really when Booth should have realised what was going on.
    • In a real game of Chess, it's impossible to checkmate using one Bishop, or any single piece for that matter note . This foreshadows the reveal Sotto Voce was a Pawn to her, Hartley was the second Bishop and Booth was yet another Pawn.
    • Hartley refers to the Bishop as the most beautiful woman at Sotto's ball. The two of them are partners in crime and love.
    • Hartley is decidedly unlike the usual musclebound Cloud Cuckoolander Dwayne Johnson is known for in similar movies. He has a noticeably hard time fighting even physically inferior opponents like the Bishop, and whenever he's forced into a hand-to-hand confrontation, he does rather poorly. He's also remarkably willing to shoot at law enforcement officials, and outright steals a car in the intro. All of this foreshadows that he isn't actually an FBI agent.
    • Black claims to have framed Hartley by intercepting Das's call to the FBI, lying about having ever heard of him. Needless to say, this would not hold up as a reason for Interpol to arrest a legitimate FBI agent in real life, which is why it's handy that Hartley is not a legitimate FBI agent at all; Black only wanted to allay Booth's suspicions long enough to pull the wool over his eyes.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • During the scene in which Hartley is arrested, a shot of the shattered fake egg shows that it had an inscription of a bishop chess piece on the inside.
    • When Hartley is being strangled by Sotto Voce, the Bishop can be seen in the background looking in horror.
  • Gasoline Lasts Forever: The Nazi cars that Booth and Hartley find in the bunker along with the last egg all work perfectly fine despite being left unattended for eighty years. They're all gassed up and ready to go for the ensuing chase scene.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: While each of Cleopatra's eggs is worth a fortune by itself, they haven't all been in the same place since Cleopatra died in the first century BC, and a billionaire is willing to pay 300 million dollars for the complete set.
  • Graceful Loser: After being defeated, Booth assures Hartley and the Bishop that he does not take offence and admits he had a super fun time. When he returns the favor by getting their assets frozen, Hartley and the Bishop take the loss fairly well and agree to Booth's job offer.
  • Hollywood Density: It's not specified whether or not the eggs are solid 18K gold or hollow, but if they are solid, they'd probably weigh about 40-50 pounds each. Given how casually they get picked up by various parties over the course of the film, they probably weigh less than five pounds each.
  • Impersonating an Officer: The Bishop frames Hartley for impersonating an FBI officer, resulting in him being imprisoned alongside Booth. Hartley was never an FBI officer, it was just part of the con.
  • Improvised Weapon: Booth improvises a bomb with the prison's cleaning fluid, glycerin soap bar and washing machine and later knocks out a prison guard with a snowball.
  • In Harm's Way: Booth is clearly in it more for the thrill and the chase than he is for the money. He does insist that he "loves money," but his actions tell a different story. This comes to a head at the end of the movie, where he sells Booth and Hartley out to Interpol in order to blackmail them into helping him, rather than taking the money and running. He legitimately doesn't seem to care that he lost the eggs.
  • Interpol Special Agent: Inspector Das personally pursues Hartley and Booth and tries to bring them in, even though in real life Interpol agents are not authorized to make arrests.
  • Inspector Javert: Inspector Das is chasing Hartley, but only because he has been framed by Bishop. Subverted in that Hartley turns out to actually be a con man, so she had an even better reason to go after him.
  • It Amused Me: Booth. His entire career as a thief is entirely motivated by two things: as an F-You to his law-enforcement father who treated him terribly, and to have fun. It's actually noted by Hartley that the scores Booth goes after aren't the ones that are safest or have the biggest payout, but the ones that have the most risk so he can enjoy the thrill of escaping.
  • Lady in Red: Sarah wears a red cutout dress for Sotto's masquerade ball, which is notably featured in most of the film's publicity. Fitting her Femme Fatale look, it's a backless dress with cleavage and a Fashionable Asymmetry cut to show off one of her legs. Surprisingly she can actually fight wearing it too.
  • Large Ham: Gal Gadot is clearly having an absolute blast chewing the scenery as the villain, as Sarah is the one of the most over-the-top characters in the film.
  • Leg Focus: The film doesn't miss a single opportunity to show off Sarah's legs, including during fights. Special mention goes to the scenes where she's wearing the red Sexy Slit Dress.
  • Le Parkour: Booth makes extensive use of parkour to evade both Hartley and the Italian police when his theft of the first egg from Castel Sant Angelo is interrupted.
  • Lip Lock Sunblock: Occurs at the end between Hartley and Black.
  • Living Motion Detector: Booth mistakenly thinks bulls are these. Hartley quickly figures out he's thinking of the T. rex in Jurassic Park.
  • MacGuffin: The Eggs of Cleopatra, a set of three jewel-encrusted gold eggs that were supposedly commissioned by Mark Anthony for his eponymous lover. The completed set is almost invaluable. This is actually lampshaded as Booth and Hartley search for the third egg.
    Hartley: How are we gonna find this egg?
    Booth: I don't know. Look for a box that says "MacGuffin."note 
  • Masquerade Ball: The arms' dealer Sotto Voce hold an annual masked ball so all his arms' dealing colleagues and clients can get together to have a good time without compromising their identities. Hartley and Booth use it as cover to break into his vault.
  • Misplaced-Names Poster: Look at the page image. Ryan Reynolds sure looks good in a dress.
  • Named After Someone Famous: The buyer of Cleopatra's eggs thinks they'll make a great wedding present for his daughter because he named her after Cleopatra.
  • Nazi Gold: Booth's father was obsessed with finding a lost Nazi art treasure hoard allegedly located in South America. The third egg is part of it.
  • No-Sell: At one point, Booth and Hartley escape a gun-wielding (although dying) Sotto Voce by clambering into the bull-fighting arena below which they were being interrogated. Hartley ends up taking a head-on gore from the bull— other than being knocked off of his feet, he doesn't show so much as a scratch or a limp from the encounter. Mind you, this is also moments after Bishop electrocuted his nutsack.
  • Once More, with Clarity:
    • Early on in the prison, Booth loudly reveals that Hartley was an FBI profiler to the rest of the prisoners, leading to him being humiliated and beaten by one of the prisoners before he and Booth are dragged to their cell. During their escape, Booth reveals that he snatched a keycard from a prison guard during the chaos after.
      Booth: Nyet Politsiya!
    • Several of these with The Reveal that Hartley had been working with the Bishop all along, from Hartley's ominous statements to them flirting in a fight to her slipping him a key while torturing him under the corrida.
  • Phantom Thief: Both Black and Booth qualify.
  • Poisoned Drink Drop: After successfully getting information from Nolan Booth as to the whereabouts of Cleopatra’s third egg is, Sarah Black a.k.a The Bishop and arms dealer Sotto Voce toast with champagne. Voce downs his while Black holds onto hers. Voce then collapses, shattering his flute in the process. As it turned out, Black drugged the champagne, double-crossing Voce.
  • Precision F-Strike: Booth has a big “What the FUCK?!” reaction to The Reveal.
  • Product Placement: Upon returning to his home in Bali, Booth pours himself a glass of what appears to be Aviation American Gin (a brand Reynolds partially owns). A few scenes right after, Hartley is seen helping himself to Teremana tequila at a bar, a brand The Rock owns.
  • Put Their Heads Together: During the heist at Sotto Voce's mansion, Sarah ends up handcuffing Hartley and Booth together and making their heads hit each other.
  • The Reveal: Hartley was always working with The Bishop. He was in on the egg heist from the beginning.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Inspector Das going after Hartley after being framed by Bishop. Sarah didn't post any fake information - she probably sent her his past criminal misdeeds.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Booth emphatically stating that Hartley is not a cop. He probably did it to either troll him or cause a diversion so he could swipe a guard's keycard, but he's actually completely right.
  • Rule of Cool: Why do eighty-year-old Nazi vehicles still work perfectly? Why did the Nazis decide to store guns with fully-loaded magazines, and why are said guns still in perfect working order after being left to rust for decades? Simple - it's fun.
  • Samus Is a Girl: There is no explicit suggestion that the Bishop is a woman until Sarah gets a Dramatic Unmask while stealing the first egg about twenty minutes into the movie. Then downplayed when it turns out to be a Collective Identity shared by a man and a woman.
  • Sexy Surfacing Shot: There is a gratuitous shot of Sara in a one-piece swimsuit coming out of the ocean and climbing a boat's ladder.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Das hides her figure beneath her cop clothes, but as soon as she puts on a dress during the Valencia arc she looks stunning.
  • Shoulders-Up Nudity: During the prison Shower Scene, all the men are only seen from the waist up.
  • Soft Glass: Zig-zagged. Right before a fight among the three stars in Sotto Voce's vault, Hartley breaks a glass case with his elbow so he can use the shield that's behind it (played straight). Booth attempts to do the same with a case next to him, and his elbow harmlessly bounces off the glass as he winces in pain (subverted).
  • Stock Scream: One poor sap Booth knocks off the scaffolding in the opening fight sequence lets out the Wilhelm Scream.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: All three of the Cleopatra eggs are hot property - two are explicitly stolen over the course of the movie and the third was stolen from somebody by the Nazis, with the world courts yet to rule on who the current rightful owner is. As a result, the billionaire who commissioned the theft of the eggs and publicly presented the entire set to his daughter for her wedding ends up getting arrested for receiving stolen property.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Booth, in a small, petty act of revenge against Hartley for the former's arrest, yells out to the prisoners at the Russian jail that Hartley is definitely not a member of law enforcement. Hartley gets his ass kicked for it. Ironically, he's accidentally telling the truth.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Inspector Das, who chases Booth and Hartley throughout the movie, is an honest law enforcement officer who is just doing her job (although the whole "Russian blacksite" thing might make a dent in the "sympathetic" part).
  • Too Clever by Half: After Booth's arrest, Das savvily orders her men to transport the egg and Booth in different police vans to reduce the chances of him somehow stealing it back. This gives Sarah an opportunity to steal the egg while Impersonating an Officer.
  • Undercover When Alone: Sarah alerts Interpol about Booth and Hartley's escape from prison. This makes little sense given that she and Hartley are working together but it helps to maintain her facade to the audience.
  • We Win, Because You Didn't: During the climax, Booth claims that if he can't get the 300 million for the complete set of eggs, he'll be satisfied with denying The Bishop the money by keeping one egg away from her until the deadline for delivery is over. Then it gets averted when Hartley reveals that he's Bishop's partner and takes the third egg away from Booth.
  • Wham Shot: Hartley and the Bishop kissing each other in front of Booth, revealing that they were in cahoots the whole time.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Near the end, Booth has the third egg with him, but Hartley is nowhere in sight. He considers leaving without Hartley, but changes his mind and wades back into the water, calling for him.
  • Xanatos Gambit: The Bishop's plan is simple: corner Booth to coerce him into revealing the location of the third egg, or follow him as he steals it and then take the egg from him. There is a bit of a Gambit Roulette, as it requires Booth to be actually able to escape the tough spots he is put in and hope he actually can get the third egg, but those are unavoidable and the Bishop is revealed to have been actually tipping the scales all along. There is also a third option where Booth trusts Hartley and reveals the location of the third egg to him, after which the Bishop can ditch him and retrieve the egg.