Why was Red Notice a Hit?

A couple of days ago I watched ‘Red Notice’ on Netflix, an entirely forgettable film starring The Rock, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot. Exactly what I expected, and what the trailers had portrayed. It was a totally formulaic film about cons conning cons, in glamorous settings. Rome, Paris, Cairo, Bali. Lots of fancy fighting, lots of gunplay, lots of chase scenes where they destroyed the local fruit market, glamorous gatherings of hyper-wealthy people where the women were all gorgeous (Gadot, of course, but the woman who was the top interpol cop was no slouch herself) and the drinks no doubt of the most expensive variety.
I enjoyed it, as I enjoyed the Laura Croft movies, the Indiana Jones movies, the Jason Bourne movies, and the James Bond movies, but they do all blend into one another and this certainly wasn’t one of the standouts.
Then I read an article this morning about how it was the top grossing weekend release ever on Netflix. Well, looking at the comments below that article, it became clear after reading 5 or 6 comments (nobody reads all 758 or however many there were) that I was well within the consensus. Most found it a mildly entertaining but insignificant piece of fluff, some were a bit harsher.
So, why was it such a hit? Other factors must have been at play. A dearth of anything else interesting on Netflix, or just an increase in their number of subscribers, which could mean that every couple of weeks, a new film will take that ‘most viewed ever’ crown.

Then, yesterday, I watched a movie which I highly recommend, but doubt it will get the same viewership, because it’s a film which will probably only appeal to intelligent people. It was ‘Radioactivity,’ a biopic of Marie Curie. It was history, it was science, it was definitely a film which dedicated feminists should love, it was an intense drama about a complex character, and it explored in great detail the ethical question of how much we should trust science. It was done almost all in flashbacks as she lay dying, but it had lots of flash forwards as well, Hiroshima, Cernobyl, and such, but also touted the benefits of X rays and radiation therapy.

Popular tastes demand sex, violence, beautiful locations and perhaps an occasional flaunting of the laws of physics. But there are films out there for other tastes as well. I’m grateful for that.

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