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Red Sparrow fails to take flight

Monday March 05, 2018 Written by Published in Entertainment
A scene from the Red Sparrow film, which is now screening at Empire Raro. 18030212. A scene from the Red Sparrow film, which is now screening at Empire Raro. 18030212.

It seemed only a couple of years ago that Jennifer Lawrence was the biggest star in the world.


After she fell up the stairs on the way to collect her Oscar, she traded in her girl of your dreams look for the girl next door vibe.

She appeared in huge blockbusters, Hunger Games and X-Men, while also delivering award nominated performances, American Hustle and Joy, at a seemingly unmatched rate.

However, after a serious of public blunders chipped away at her ‘relatable’ persona, her film career seeming went down with the ship too, finally hitting the bottom with Red Sparrow.

On the surface it can look like an empowering flick, with a female lead becoming a lethal spy that takes no prisoners.

However, the reality is that it is a perverse two hours plus slog that seems to takes pleasure in showing gruesome injuries, sexual assault and uncomfortable nudity.

At the centre of it all is Lawrence, playing Dominika Egorova, a name that they give up trying to pronounce.

She is a former ballet dancer who suffers a gruesome injury, which naturally makes her a perfect fit to eventually join what is regarded as the top tier of Russian intelligence.

Initially, she struggles to recover from, using a cane to get around, but then immediately is fine when the plot needs her to be.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the only reason that they gave her a cane in the first place was so that she could use it to inflict significant bodily harm to a couple, because her injury never hinders her after that.

After she is tricked by her uncle Vanya Egorov (Matthias Schoenaerts), AKA the sexy Vladimir Putin, into getting sexually assaulted before witnessing her assailant get murdered.

Tanned Vlad gives her a choice; die, or join the Red Sparrows, the espionage service that trains their agents to use their looks and minds as a weapon.

He calls her a survivor, despite the fact that there is very little evidence that supports that, although maybe he is speaking about her magic recovery from her leg ailment.

When she arrives, Egorova is informed that she will have a great deal of catching up to do, as most of the trainees are from the military, again making you wonder why a ballerina, a famous one at that, is sent to the spy agency and not the gulag.

In the ensuing training montage, she picks a lock, resists someone that tries to sexually assault her in the shower, all before she gets completely naked in front of the whole class, which her superiors think qualify her for an incredibly important task.

That is when the spy aspect of the plot takes over, which is incredibly boring, as nothing of note happens for long stretches, although the director Francis Lawrence (no relation) is sure to keep up his gross violence quota.

Despite the renowned cast that features to Academy Award winners, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Irons, as well as the competent Joel Edgerton, most are flat or look like they don’t care.

Jennifer, in particular, has a terrible accent – if you do an impression of what you think a Russian talks like, it’s probably better than hers.

Although there is a nice twist, it isn’t enough to revive what is a forgettable two-plus hours’ experience.

You have to wonder why an actress in their prime would join a movie like Red Sparrow.

She has said recently that she is going to take a year off from acting – maybe she should have done that instead of doing this movie.  

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