Red Sparrow Film Review
If there is one thing that Jennifer Lawrence can do is… carry a movie on her shoulders. She cannot however, save one from damnation. That’s is the case of Red Sparrow, her latest collaboration with Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence, and I’m sad to say that, the movie is not reaching potential. It had some of it to be frank, but let me start from the very beginning.
Jennifer Lawrence is Dominika Egorova. A famed prima-ballerina for the Bolshoi Theater. After an on-stage „accident“ will cut short her ballet career (rather abruptly and painfully), Diminika will be drafted by her uncle (Matthias Schoenaerts) to join SVR and become a spy. And not just any spy, but a „Sparrow“. Highly secretive spy, trained to seduce and gain the trust from very powerful men. Believe me, that won’t come easy, but things will get even more complicated after she is assigned to seduce Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton), a CIA operative who coincidently has her on his radar.
Like I’ve mentioned earlier in this post, Lawrence (despite her wobbly Russian accent) is not enough in order to make this movie even decent, and when you get to the first half, you’ll realize that she’s not to blame for the movie’s failure to impress. Cause (besides her) there is plenty of acting talent in the rest of the roles, and it’s not used nearly enough. Charlotte Rampling, Jeremy Irons, Ciaran Hinds, Joely Richardson are practically acting Gods and here are being demoted to a forgettable and generic characters that don’t even have a decent amount a screen time. Heck, even Jennifer’s male co-lead Joel Edgerton is left empty-handed and he also had sooooo much promice. In fact almost every character besides Dominika’s is lacking exploration efforts, and it greatly affects the performances, but you can blame Justin Haythe for that. You know… The screenwriter who’s job it is to take care of that.
I mean there is some creepy unsaid innuendos about possible incest with her uncle, and we know how she can adapt to the most gruesome demands, but not much is known and said about (and from) her. And there is plenty of room for that in the 140 minutes running time.
Black Sparrow is a marathon, not a sprint, and because of that the pacing is sometimes suffering, and sometimes it’s nonexistent. That’s especially true about the second half of the movie, where although there is less of the psychological torture (unlike the first half), there is abundance of physical torture and gory assault scenes.
Also the underwhelming development, uneven narrative and eventual let-down of a predictable ending is there too… so be prepared.
I don’t know about you threshold on watching the demeaning scenes filled with torture and sexual assault, but mine was not that grand. Some of them had degradation and torture just for the hell of it, and when it was barely acceptable (cause the scene really needed them), they pushed it almost until the limit. The scenes in the „whore school“ are a perfect example of that, and if you can watch them with your eyes open you’re bigger person that I was.
Furthermore, for a spy thriller of a movie, I expected a little more thrill and action. I’m not saying that Red Sparrow should copy and mimic Atomic Blonde, but I expected a little more muscle use as well as brain use. But, like I said. It had potential to be grand. Great cast, talented director and interesting starting point (a novel written by Jason Matthews). Too bad almost none of that is used in the movie’s advantage.