Thumbs up or thumbs down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.
Red Sparrow is a 2018 spy thriller film directed by Francis Lawrence and based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Jason Matthews. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence as Dominika Egorova, a ballerina who faces a bleak and uncertain future after she suffers a career ending injury. She is offered a second chance at a secret intelligence service facility which trains exceptional young people to use their minds and bodies as weapons. Dominika is then sent discover the identity of a mole within the Russian government. In doing so, she meets a CIA agent (Joel Edgerton) who tries to convince her that he is the only person she can trust.
Jennifer Lawrence carries the movie for its entire run time. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not her biggest fan but she plays the role to perfection. She’s weak, she’s strong and she utterly manipulates throughout. While her character is taught in the art of seduction she is far more than just a pretty face, even if that is what they try to sell you into viewing through bikini shots in the trailers.
I cannot decide if the chemistry between Lawrence and Edgerton was a little lacking or if they were just playing the roles of two secret agents trying to manipulate each other, but potentially also care about each other well. I’ll chalk it up to the later as I found the manipulation and deception very appealing as a viewer.
A warning however to anyone who is expecting this to be a fun action film, it isn’t. It’s a slow burning thriller with a long run time (slightly too slow in places and slightly too long to be honest) however I found it kept me guessing and wondering who was on whose side through out. Don’t let me fool you into thinking this is a spy thrilling that doesn’t thrill. It can do and does often.
At times Red Sparrow can be brutal, shocking and downright disturbing which I know won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. In other scenes people might be put off by the overly sexual content and topics such as rape. Personally I do not think this items were just thrown in to shock, but to develop the plot and drive things forward. What is clear is that it will not be for everyone however.
Overall I thought Red Sparrow was an entertaining spy thriller that I would be interested in seeing more from in the future. It is a little slow in places and some people will find the sexual themes and brutality to be in bad taste however it all works thanks to Jennifer Lawrence’s performance. Worth a watch, just remember it isn’t Jason Bourne.