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REVIEW: RED SPARROW Isn’t Your Typical Spy Flick

 

 
Overview
 

Directed by: Francis Lawrence
 
Produced by: David Ready
 
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts and Jeremy Irons
 
MTRCB Rating: R-16
 
Genre: , , ,
 
FG RATING
5.5
5.5/ 10


User Rating
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Raves


The darker undertones of the story has a sustained level of anxiety and mystery to it, keeping you at the edge of your seat and waiting for whatever happens next.

Rants


Comical attempts at doing a Russian accent and lazy world-building due to an obvious lack of research.


To say that Jennifer Lawrence broke away from her usual “edgy girl you wanna fall in love with” roles with her performance in Red Sparrow is a huge overstatement–Dominika Egorova is the kind of character that perfectly fits her specific charm. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a complaint on her acting, but Red Sparrow […]

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Posted March 12, 2018 by

 
FULL REVIEW
 
 

To say that Jennifer Lawrence broke away from her usual “edgy girl you wanna fall in love with” roles with her performance in Red Sparrow is a huge overstatement–Dominika Egorova is the kind of character that perfectly fits her specific charm. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a complaint on her acting, but Red Sparrow as a whole felt too ambitious with what it wanted to achieve, and to me it failed on several facets. The best I can give it is a lukewarm rating after everything it has put me through as a viewer.

THE GOOD

RS3

The plot was based on a novel by Jason Matthews who was a former CIA operative. Its story had elements of a thriller verging on the psychological aspect of it: sure, there wasn’t much of the ass-kicking type of action we are used to when it comes to spy films or characters, but it gives us something more. Take Black Widow for example: we love her ability to bring down a room of armed men with her impeccable fighting skills. But Dominika, she is made of a different stuff entirely, and that makes Red Sparrow stand out from any other films of the same genre. Dominika as a woman, displays a different kind of strength, she not only fights with physical power, but she is also capable of outsmarting her superiors. Not to mention, her “superpower” of being able to see through people and knowing their pressure points and motives, helps relay to the audience why this story is revolving around her. The darker undertones of the story also has a sustained level of anxiety and mystery to it, keeping you at the edge of your seat and waiting for whatever happens next. As for the R-16 rating, there was a palpable amount of gore,  violence and mature content typical to a spy film.

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I guess it’s fitting to mention that Red Sparrow owes its hype for being too similar to Black Widow’s dark backstory, but it has qualities that separate it from the overdue Natasha Romanov solo film we all have been waiting for. And if a Black Widow solo film really is happening, Marvel needs to find a way to top the heaviness of Red Sparrow whilst still fitting into the magic MCU formula.

THE BAD

When I said it failed on several facets, what I really meant was a total trainwreck of key elements that will distract you from the good bits. Even though the film itself featured a strong cast of great actors, none of them could do a convincing Russian accent to save their lives. The accents were so off, you’d think they weren’t even trying. World-building was notably pretty lazy too: there was hardly any effort in defining the time period the story is taking place in. It’s far too modern to pass as the 90’s (I was able to spot one character with a smartphone), and the tech was far too behind to pass as 2010’s or beyond (floppy disks, really?). The “Sparrow School” claims the Cold War didn’t really end, yet there’s an overwhelming lack of references to politics or other cultural nods that would help put a date stamp on the setting. A little bit more of research could’ve helped fix this.

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There were also questionable moments in the film that seemed like convenient plot devices–it’s hard to believe that a prima ballerina with a broken leg would have no other career options, and what are the odds that Dominika’s roommate just happens to be a freaking secret agent as well? Not to mention, the fact that Americans can easily identify a “sparrow” or know what a sparrow is in the first place, already meant that the seductive spy route was no longer an effective means of gathering intelligence, so why keep using it? I might be nitpicking here, but so much more screen time could have been dedicated instead to addressing these flaws than undressing JLaw for shock value.

In conclusion, this movie will give you that temporary high of watching a satisfying plot twist and a grand reveal that you might not see coming, despite the bumps along the ride. Red Sparrow isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but it will leave you thinking if Dominika’s charm got you fooled too.


Nadine Flores

 


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