Do not bother with ‘Red Sparrow’

“Red Sparrow” is an espionage film that was released over the weekend, starring Jennifer Lawrence as leading lady Dominika Egorova and Joel Edgerton as her love interest, Nate Nash; also included in the cast is Jeremy Irons, Matthias Schoenaerts and Ciarán Hinds. The film was directed by Francis Lawrence, who has directed films such as “I Am Legend,” “Constantine,” “Water for Elephants” and three of the “Hunger Games” films.

I’m going to be very blunt in this review—within the first 30 minutes, I was wishing for my money back, and by the time I walked out of the theater I was wanting the last two hours of my life back.

One more thing I must tell readers before going into more details about the film: it is very brutal and contains multiple instances of sexual violence. For those who are sensitive to images like this, it might be best to avoid this movie altogether.

“Red Sparrow” tells the story of a Russian ballerina who, after suffering a trauma, is recruited by her uncle to become a “Sparrow,” a Russian agent mastered in the art of seduction. Her mission is to infiltrate an American agent residing in Russia.

This movie is horrifically boring, and as the runtime goes on and on it feels as if it drags. I can remember five times the film could have ended, yet it just kept going to the disdain of the audience. Most of the actors are bland and clearly look to be there just for a paycheck. The script is full of shallow dialogue that never flows like a real-life conversation between two people. It is also filled with moments that are meant to be shocking and maybe ‘edgy,’ but just came across as unnecessarily violent and brutal. There are torture scenes that start well, but as they go on feel like they should have been shorter. The music in the film is dull and uninspired; the artists likely put in a lot of effort when creating the score, but it is just unmemorable.

While most other critics have been giving Jennifer Lawrence a lot of praise for her performance in this movie, I have to respectfully disagree. Not only is she clearly forcing the Russian accent, but doing so stops her from properly emoting throughout the film; Lawrence comes across as simply emotionless. It also does not help that, due to the clunky nature of the story, her character never has time to truly develop. She has to move from traumatic moment to traumatic moment with no time for character. That is nothing against Lawrence herself, it is just that audiences have seen that she can do so much better. Not only that, but this movie also showcases that they should have cast a Russian actress so there would be no need to fake the accent, and they could focus on her actual performance.

With that note, there is also incredibly subpar chemistry between Lawrence and Edgerton. Halfway through the film, after they have spent around maybe three or four short scenes together, we are made to believe that they are falling in love. However, because the combination of poor dialogue and lackluster chemistry, audiences do not believe it for a single second. This is made even more prevalent in one of the most awkward sex scenes I have ever seen in a film. I will not spoil anything, but you will know it when you see it.

The last point I have against the film is that there is no real sense of in what era this movie takes place. There are smartphones, so clearly it is modern-day, but there is also technology from the late 1990s and the early 2000s. The film is timeless, but not in a good way.

Now I will go into the very few positives about this movie. While their appearances are few and far between, Jeremy Irons and Ciarán Hinds are very welcoming parts of this cast. To me, Irons and Hinds have the best performances, even though for the majority of their minimal scenes they are relegated to office meetings. Lastly, at certain points there was great cinematography, while in the rest of the film it is OK at times and awful at others.

I honestly do not see myself referring this movie to anyone; just save your money for Spring Break. If you really want to see it, just wait for Redbox, though I doubt it is even worth that. Now I am just glad I do not need to think about this movie anymore.

Leave a Reply