‘Red Sparrow’: A Spy Tale Without Much Spying. Spoiler-Free Review
If you’re here for a movie with spies, secrets, weapons, a mystery to unsolve with layers and layers to unveil, or you want a movie packed with action and excitement… I have bad news for you.
Directed by Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1 and 2, Catching Fire) Red Sparrow is the newest “spy thriller” Hollywood has to offer us. Red Sparrow follows the story of Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence). After an injury that stops her career as a ballerina, Dominika is forced to join the Red Sparrows, a Russian network of spies that focus on seduction to gather information, to serve her country and protect her mother.
This is a movie that, while shiny on the surface and attractive on its premise, turns out to be bland and unappealing. The film really isn’t that good at keeping your attention (especially considering it’s 140 minutes long, approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes of your time).
At first, you’ll be intrigued as to how the story will unfold and you’ll keep wondering when the spying actually takes place, but as minutes pass you’ll realize that there won’t be much of what you were promised before you entered the theatre.
After seeing this film, I was conflicted as I am a fan of spy movies and I wanted this to be good, I truly did. Once I started to really think about what I just saw in order to write this review, I realized that this movie had had no impact whatsoever on me – other than the disappointment of not seeing a spy movie – and that the only thing that I could truly remember was Jennifer Lawrence.
And it’s because that’s all this movie does. It keeps the focus on Jennifer Lawrence at all times: her performance, her reactions, her character. Every other character that appears on screen gets neglected in order to point us towards J-Law’s character of Dominika and move the plot so she can continue to develop.
Not even the plot gets the attention it should, in favour of our main actress. This results in a plot that at times turns out more difficult and twisted than necessary and loses the audience after the first few minutes.
In fair warning, I should tell you that there are two rape scenes (one is an attempt and one that gets “interrupted”) in the film and some gory scenes that could twist the stomach of many in the audience. If you’re sensitive to this type of content and decide to see Red Sparrow, enter with caution as even though the scenes aren’t 100% explicit, they can be difficult to watch.
This is not a spy movie, as the trailers made us believe, nor is it an interesting film with an attractive plot and appealing characters. This is a movie made for Jennifer Lawrence to shine and if that’s what you’re into, then you’ll be happier after seeing this film. However, if you’re looking for action, spies and a thrilling sensation when you’re watching a film, it’s better if you watch the Mission Impossible franchise (in preparation for Fallout) or The Man from U.N.C.L.E.