To put it bluntly, I would have hated Red Sparrow, had it not been for Jennifer Lawrence’s incredible performance.
Red Sparrow Synopsis
After a career-ending stage accident, ballerina Dominika Egorova is manipulated by her uncle Ivan into joining the Russian intelligence. Dominika excels during training but because of an incident with a coursemate, she is pulled out of her course midway and assigned to Budapest, where her mission is to seduce former CIA operative Nate Nash. As she learns, Nash was forced to flee Moscow months ago after a blotched contact with an informant in Gorky Park. Dominika’s specific task: to determine the identity of the informant at any cost. The urgency: the informant is possibly a mole with access to the highest echelons of Russian command.
I’m a huge, huge Jennifer Lawrence fan. I highlight this for had she not been the lead of Red Sparrow, had she not thrown in such a spirited performance too, I probably would have downright hated this movie.
In a nutshell, my complaint with Red Sparrow is that it’s way too fanatical with several standard tropes of the spy genre. Tropes like double-crossing, ambiguity, inhuman torture, and so on.
Practically every “chapter” of this movie is stringently structured around these tropes too, and while the story doesn’t become incomprehensible, it feels tiresome before long. Very tiresome, the likes of a snowstorm that wouldn’t go away.
To an extent, this weariness is moderated by impressive performances by J’s supporting cast, particularly the charismatic Matthias Schoenaerts. (He looks and feels like a younger Putin to me) Unfortunately, their combined efforts do not lift the movie. Before Red Sparrow is halfway through, you learn not to trust or feel for any of the characters too.
It’s almost as if you’re dealing with an actual Russian sparrow before you.
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