‘Red Sparrow’ is eye-opening, thought-provoking but preposterously bloated
Jennifer Lawrence and Francis Lawrence push the edge with the cinematic freedom afforded to them by the success of 'The Hunger Games'
Director: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts
3 (Out of 5) Globes
Plot: Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) is confronted with a bleak and uncertain future after her career as a prima ballerina comes to a sudden and brutal end.
With the help of her uncle Ivan (Matthias Schoenaerts), Dominika joins the Russian secret intelligence service’s Sparrow School, which trains young people to use their minds and bodies as weapons.
Dominika is perfectly suited to this world, and soon has to do battle with CIA agent Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton), who she strikes up a personal relationship with.
Review: By the final act of “Red Sparrow” you will practically be pleading with the film to end.
Because while it spends most of its opening 2 hours meticulously building a haunting and mysterious mood, and using its various European locations to create a gothic and uneasy world, with its conclusion Francis Lawrence ties the film in knots.
Suddenly, the intrigue surrounding Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton’s spies disperses, and you’re left just not caring. Which is a shame, because before that point “Red Sparrow” makes for a riveting, constantly shocking and thought-provoking film.
It possesses Jennifer Lawrence’s bravest performance to date, as she delves into themes of sexual politics, violence and the numbing impact of the male gaze on women with a mixture of subtly and power.
Her namesake behind the camera infuses proceedings with an alluring style, which helps to make it an effective thriller and mystery, but never quite brings this mixture of themes to a heady point.
At the same time, though, both Lawrences confront "Red Sparrow’s" content in such a forthright, challenging but still cinematic fashion that they deserve kudos.
It’s just a shame then that they, ultimately, don’t do more with it.