Red Sparrow Review – Spoiler Free
Red Sparrow is a film which comes directed by Francis Lawrence who some may know as the director of all of The Hunger Games films. Red Sparrow stars Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker, Ciarán Hinds and Jeremy Irons.
Red Sparrow is a spy thriller about a Russian spy agency which trains spies who are known as “Sparrows”. The spies are specially trained in the art of seduction, so that they can gain someone’s trust and then eventually get a secret out of them. Red Sparrow is a dark tale which involves sex, manipulation, politics and espionage.
I was quite excited to go in and see Red Sparrow at the cinema this week. Being both a fan of Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton, I had thought that I was possibly in for quite a good experience. Both actors have quite the impressive lineup of recent films and their performances in each of their films individually was usually exceptional. On top of that Red Sparrow comes directed by Francis Lawrence who I’ve enjoyed in the past for his work on The Hunger Games series. The combination of all of these three combined seemed pretty good to me and on top of that there’s also Jeremy Irons and Ciarán Hinds.
Similar to The Hunger Games films, Red Sparrow’s direction under Francis Lawrence is a little similar in the way it is paced and presented. Red Sparrow is quite a slow paced film and is one with very dark themes of sex and manipulation and the occasional torture scene thrown in there. While I don’t really mind this type of pacing in a film myself, I feel that many out there might find themselves feeling a bit uncomfortable during the experience. If for example you can’t handle a torture scene where someone’s skin is grated off or a sex scene where it’s pretty violent and there’s a few of those in this, then you might get uncomfortable. This is mainly because of the slow pacing, things here are drawn out and the viewer can’t really escape something uncomfortable in the cinema. But it also adds to the experience of the film. We are supposed to be inside a world where our main character Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) is doing something very dangerous and is in a dangerous line of work, so much like the character you find yourself in very uncomfortable situations and you’re not getting out of there quickly either.
The plot of Red Sparrow is a filled with mystery and intrigue. As a first time watcher of the film, I felt that the slow pacing helped quite a bit when it came to following who was who. I personally never felt lost or unaware when it came to which character was up to what. The strong themes in the film might make some viewers turn away from the plot or tune out, but if you watch and pay attention it’s very easy to follow. Even the twist at the end didn’t catch me off guard at all. Which I don’t know if it is a good thing or not.
As far as the actors go. Both Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton are the standouts in this film. Jennifer Lawrence in particular goes through hell with her character in this film and in each scene she seems to pull everything off well. On the other hand, Dominika Egorova is a very cold and emotionless character, so for much of the film you don’t see an emotional side from that character, but in certain parts you do see that and I think it is part of what makes that character interesting and a bit of a mystery. Joel Edgerton’s performance is also good and he plays an American spy which is different to most others in the film who are all Russians. You get the kind of ‘good guy’ vibe from his performance, which is what I think Americans like to portray themselves as anyway. But I would of liked a bit more from Joel Edgerton’s screen time, as Jennifer Lawrence makes up much of the film, although she does great so I don’t mind. Jeremy Irons I have to say though, I didn’t really buy into his Russsian accent at all. I don’t know if it was intentional or if he was told to be the way he was, but I wasn’t into him in this film.
Overall Red Sparrow is a very strong and tense film experience filled with dark themes of manipulation, violence and sex in world filled with spies doing very dangerous things. Both Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton put in some great work in this film and definitely bring the standard of the movie experience up. Which is needed from the actors and tough to do because the way Francis Lawrence directed this meant that it was a little slow paced and at times it will possibly be uncomfortable to watch for some viewers who will turn away or close their eyes in certain scenes which are dragged out for some time. Although I feel the Red Sparrow experience is meant to be like that. I feel like you’re meant to be a little uncomfortable watching this thriller, it’s supposed to keep you on the edge of your seat and keep you guessing until the end. I certainly enjoyed the Red Sparrow experience and thought it was well made and an enjoyable watch this week. The dark tones and rough scenes have no effect on me, but I can see other people not handling them and the pacing well. Spy thrillers like this aren’t always for everyone and that’s okay, Red Sparrow is an interesting watch and I’m happy to recommend it to those who can handle this type of film.