Title – Red Sparrow (2018)
Director – Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend)
Cast – Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker, Ciarán Hinds, Joely Richardson, Jeremy Irons
Plot – Ex-ballerina turned Russian super-spy Dominika Egorova (Lawrence) enters into a dangerous game of cat and mouse trying to uncover a mole after she has completed her training in the unforgiving “Sparrow School”.
“Every human being is a puzzle of need. You must become the missing piece, and they will tell you anything”
Review by Eddie on 24/08/2018
As a thriller, I Am Legend director Francis Lawrence’s Red Sparrow commits the fatal and unrecoverable sin of being boring and uninteresting, where it should’ve been exciting and nail-bitingly captivating.
All the elements are lined up for this Russian set sensually tinged tale of espionage, murder and double-crosses to become a white knuckle affair; one of Hollywood’s hottest leading ladies Jennifer Lawrence front and centre, a solid supporting cast led by Joel Edgerton and Matthias Schoenaerts and some potentially pulpy narrative goodies but Red Sparrow over the course of 140 drawn out minutes fails to make the most of the tools at its disposal.
Full credit to Lawrence for sticking to his guns in what was clearly a feature he didn’t want to have hold back from the darker elements of this very mature themed experience, from violence through to the ample bubbling sensuality, in a product that uses its sexual prowess to drive the story of Lawrence’s ex-ballerina turned Russian spy using her charms and wiles to become a weapon for her country but it can’t help make Red Sparrow any less of a chore to sit through as we begin to grow increasingly cold towards the films main protagonists and their various mission objectives.
Lawrence, who delivers a committed if never fully formed turn as the unfortunate but not overly affable Dominika Egorova try’s hard to elevate Red Sparrow’s lethargic delivery but it’s mostly to no avail and while Francis Lawrence try’s hard also to enliven proceedings with the addition of Joel Edgerton’s CIA agent and potential love interest Nate Nash and an abundance of brutal and wince-inducing acts of violence, there’s little point to it all when Red Sparrow feels so by the numbers and totally devoid of energy or heart.
It’s a shame, as you do sense that somewhere deep down Red Sparrow had the chance to be something quite different, something fresh in a sub-genre that has become rather unoriginal as a whole but with all its various sprinklings or originality and attempts to act like something it’s not, Red Sparrow ends up feeling both overly familiar and high predictable.
Final Say –
There’s a glossy Hollywood sheen to Red Sparrow that makes it a polished but undeniably hollow experience and despite the valiant attempts of its director and leading lady to try and do something different, Red Sparrow ends up being an overlong and increasingly uninteresting experience.
2 skin graters out of 5