In the current #metoo climate, Red Sparrow should be the last movie getting a wide release. Filled with enough rape and violence against women to make anyone uncomfortable, it’s surprising to see Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role — especially after being one of the original Fappening victims where nude photos were leaked online.
Reteaming with her Hunger Games director, Francis Lawrence, maybe the two of them were looking to make something more adult. But all I could think by the end credits is that Lawrence had some kind of vendetta against JLaw’s rising stardom he helped create and wanted to get some kind of revenge.
Ballerina Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) is one of Russia’s top performers, until she breaks her leg. Scrambling to make ends meet for herself and her sick mother Nina (Joely Richardson), her uncle Ivan (Matthias Schoenaerts) talks her into helping him He works for Russian intelligence and needs to replace a Russian politician’s phone with a state-provided phone. Of course things go awry. The diplomat is killed and Ivan offers Dominika the opportunity to work for the state.
Meanwhile, Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton) is a CIA operative in Moscow meeting an asset but the police set Nate on the run and his contact goes missing. Soon enough, Dominika is set after Nate and the two are caught up in a game of cat-and-mouse with the high ranking General Vladimir Andreievich Korchnoi (Jeremy Irons) hoping to flush out a mole.
There’s way more plot involved than this and that synopsis was already convoluted enough. Sometimes adaptations — this is based on the novel by Jason Matthews — can feel long-winded when they stick too close to the book and there’s no reason Red Sparrow needed to be 140 minutes long. When rape is used for entertainment purposes it’s one of the most uncomfortable thing you can watch.
While JLaw is telling bloggers to not see her movie on Stephen Colbert, I can’t help but wonder if she’s really upset with the bloggers or if she’s just embarrassed by the film. Hopefully the latter. Even Edgerton is surprisingly boring and Charlotte Rampling as the Headmistress of Sparrow School should know better than to star in something this seedy. Red Sparrow is simply reprehensible. It adds nothing new to the spy genre, while making you wonder what JLaw’s agent was thinking.