Dame Judi Dench is the saving grace of this rather dry retelling of the KBG’s British ‘granny spy’
Based on the true story of Melita Norwood, whose history of supplying the KGB with state secrets was exposed at the age of 87, Red Joan begins with Joan Stanley (Dench) arrested for treason. An unsuspecting pensioner with a love of gardening, Joan’s neighbours are bewildered when the police turn up at her doorstep. As she is interrogated, extended flashbacks transport us to her youth in Cambridge, the young Joan (Sophie Cookson) getting most of the screen time. Fascinated by her glamorous Russian classmate Sonya (Tereza Srbova), Joan agrees to join her at young Communist meetings. It is there that she meets Sonya’s cousin Leo (Tom Hughes) his charm sweeping her away in a murky cloud of infatuation. Following Joan throughout university and the following years, the film explores how the Brit falls (or dives) into espionage and a hidden radical life. Yet for someone so radical, the film itself is not so much - instead telling the narrative through rose-tinted glasses. (Rachel Williams).
The complete opposite of M in Bond, and nothing like Anne Hathaway, (the first one) Judi once again demonstrates her unassailable chameleon talent. Come