When she suffers a career-ending injury, Dominika and her mother are facing a bleak and uncertain future. That is why she finds herself manipulated into becoming the newest recruit for Sparrow School, a secret intelligence service that trains exceptional young people like her to use their bodies and minds as weapons. After enduring the perverse and sadistic training process, she emerges as the most dangerous Sparrow the program has ever produced. Dominika must now reconcile the person she was with the power she now commands, with her own life and everyone she cares about at risk, including an American CIA agent who tries to convince her he is the only person she can trust.
What We Thought:
Jennifer Lawrence was once America’s (Latest) Sweetheart whose films did well at the box office and who was nominated and won awards. Basically she was the perfect storm of good looks, talent, box office gold and critical praise. Then she was in X-Men: Apocalypse, Joy, Passengers, and Mother! Joy landed her another Oscar nomination, but no one really cared about those films. With The Hunger Games franchise over, J-Law saw less returns at the box office, some negativity towards her and tabloid rumors.
So does Red Sparrow right her sinking ship? Nope. Not in the slightest. If anything it might be the nail in the coffin that ends her A-list standing. Don’t get me wrong, she’s pretty enough and a decent enough actress to get on track again, but her latest movie is certainly not helping her.
In the film she plays a former dancer turned spy. She is taught to be a cold, calculated Russian espionage agent using her mind and body to get the job done. It sounds great in theory, but the resulting movie is not great.
It’s the latest film to suffer from being way too long and having unnecessary storylines and characters. There has been a slew of movies over the past six months that needed 20-40 minutes cut off including scenes and characters that serve no purpose to the overall film. You can easily cut 30 minutes off this and have the same movie at the end. You can cut one of her boss characters (when she heads out into the field to spy on Joel Edgerton’s character) and you’d have the same movie at the end. You can cut some of the sexual/rape type scenes from the Sparrow training and again, you’d have the same movie at the end. You can end the movie ten minutes sooner than it did because you don’t need to explain every single detail to the audience. If you think the audience is that dumb that they need full on explanations, why did you make a spy thriller in the first place?
Red Sparrow has some good camera work. It has good production design and costuming. Lawrence isn’t bad in it (although her accent isn’t great). Edgerton is always good, but it doesn’t feel original in the slightest. We’ve seen cold Russians for decades. We’ve seen spy thrillers between the Russians and the US for decades. The film itself is cold, slow and somewhat boring. It feels like a prequel to Atomic Blonde, but lacks the score, intensity, pacing, and action of that much better movie. Lawrence has said in interviews she’s taking a break from acting, I think she needs it.