Red Sparrow is a 2018 American spy drama film directed by Francis Lawrence. Based on a novel released in 2013 bearing the same name, it follows the tale of a theatre entertainer in Dominika (Jennifer Lawrence) who gets involved in a horrible accident which completely changes the gradient of her life as she is forced into being incorporated in a Russian top secret program where she is trained to be an elite spy.
It’s safe to say that this is not particularly your average spy film; it breaks the fourth wall in so many aspects key among them the meaning of femininity and how it should be treated. Jennifer Lawrence as the sly Russian spy is, well, bang average. On one hand, her acting is fantastic as you would expect and her story, especially during the onset, is riveting; she transitions from a rather innocent person with an innocent occupation to someone bereft of the latter and I loved it. At the same time, I expected more from her onscreen persona in relation to the scenes that were clearly crying out for more physicality; not from a rated-r point of view of course.
The OMG moments in this film are without question appealing to the eye; at least to mine they are. A testament to the latter is a scene where Dominica goes on a full-fledged rampage after discovering something that left a bad taste in her mouth. Furthermore, the subtle music played in the background during some scenes were great; they blended well with the tone and James Newton Howard, the score composer for this film gets a thumbs up on that. This motion-picture is as well exceptional in highlighting a number of aspects that we human beings experience in our day to day lives which include among others betrayal, issues in the family setup and vengeance. For a flick set predominantly in a Russian context, I’d say it looks okay; these are the kinds of projects that demand that the actors be on point with the execution of their accents and the screenplay knocks it off the park on that aspect despite the fact that a majority of the cast are not Russian or of Russian descent.
This movie, of course, doesn’t get a free pass as far as the imperfections are concerned. Most of the actors’ performances seem bland; the exception being Jeremy Irons, Charlotte Sampling even though she doesn’t get much screen time and partially Joel Edgerton. It even got to a point where I was under the impression that the below par depictions were probably accredited to the fact that there was a multiple Academy Award-winning actress at the helm and that she would automatically carry the film. Additionally, there are some instances of lazy dialogue during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd acts which really drag down the pacing which, again, boils down to the actors. Finally, I think the movie is too long and therefore could have been edited better; some scenes and subplots are either unnecessary or just elongated.
In conclusion, I haven’t read Jason Matthews’ novel which this screenplay is based off but I can indeed affirm to you the reader that this whole thing is just about watchable. I’d totally understand those who might flirt with the thought of Red Sparrow being a guilty pleasure because, to some extent, it sells itself in that manner. I don’t outstandingly despise the motion-picture but in the interim, I don’t like it as much.