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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 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.

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.
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    • Sotto Voce was 14 when his father tried to strangle him. He took after his old man and gain a habit for strangling folks.
  • 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 Gay: 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.
  • 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 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: The movie's description of a "red notice" as the highest level of "arrest warrant" used by Interpol is a bit misleading. Interpol has multiple color-coded types of notices and while Red does explicitly call for local authorities to make an arrest, you could argue that Orange is a higher priority since it concerns immediate threats to people or property. For example, in December of 2020, Interpol issued a warning to 194 countries of organized crime becoming a threat to COVID-19 vaccines.
    • Also, saying it's reserved for "the world's most wanted criminals" is a very simplistic way of putting it when you consider how Interpol's policy of neutrality has sometimes led to red notices being issued for questionable reasons by certain states; as specified by Wikipedia, they have been used by regimes to call for the arrests of dissidents, and by China to repatriate Uyghurs.
    • Criminals do not go to jail immediately upon arrest, there has to be a trial and sentencing first. This is especially important when you consider that while Booth was caught red-handed, the case against Hartley was circumstantial (he was a man with questionable credentials who had been alone with the egg shortly after the last time it was known to have not been replaced with a fake, but all that proves is that he could have stolen the egg, not that he did). Handwaved by the two being sent to a place that, in Das' words, "due process forgot", but that just begs the question as to how and why an Interpol agent is able to do such a thing.
    • The vast majority of the inmates of a nation's prisons are people who have committed crimes in and/or against that nation. Booth and Hartley are accused of stealing the property of an Italian museum from Italy and Bali, respectively, one has to wonder why the Russians were willing to incarcerate them, seeing as they have no skin in this game. While Booth was presumably wanted in Russia, Hartley never committed a crime there.
  • As Himself: Ed Sheeran has a cameo as himself.
  • 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 Sheep\White Sheep: Booth had issues with his policeman father, so he became a criminal. Hartley had issues with his criminal father, so he became a cop. Until The Reveal that he actually decided to become a better criminal.
  • 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.
  • The Caper: Booth and Hartley pull one to break into an arms dealer's personal vault to get the second egg.
  • Car Chase:
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Clear My Name: Bishop erases Hartley's FBI credentials and frames him as a thief, so Hartley spends most of the movie trying to capture her so he can prove his innocence and get his life back. Until it turns out that he never was an FBI agent and was secretly Bishop's partner all along.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, 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.
  • Foreshadowing: A few hints at the twist become this.
    • The method the Bishop used to frame Hartley makes no sense, as it would only have worked to get him arrested initially, but 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 a display of close-contact pickpocketing that impresses Booth. 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 pointing out 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 Dias 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 minimizing the risks to actually injure 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 the FBI, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Living Motion Detector: Booth mistakenly thinks bulls are these. Hartley quickly figures out he's thinking of the T. rex in Jurassic Park.
  • MacGuffin: A set of three jewel encrusted gold eggs commissioned by Mark Anthony for Cleopatra in the first century BC, that an Egyptian billionaire wants to give to his daughter Cleo at her wedding.
    • This is 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.
  • The Mean Brit: Inspector Das has an English accent and while staunchly on the side of justice, she has Hartley detained in a freezing Russian prison without even letting him have a trial.
  • 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: Sarah Black is quite hard to catch indeed.
  • 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 and was in on the egg heist from the beginning.
  • She's Got Legs: 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 dress.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Villain Protagonist: Booth. And as it turns out, Hartley.
  • 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.
  • Xanatos Gambit: The Bishop's plan is simple: corner Booth to coerce him into reveal 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.


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