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Red Sparrow (dir. Lawrence)

Image: Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Lawrence together in Red Sparrow © Photograph by Murray Close. Property of Fox Film Corporation. [Source: IMDB]

 ★★★☆☆

Presented as some sort of modern-day cold war-esque spy thriller, in Red Sparrow, ballerina Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) is forced into the game of chess between Russia and the United States. The security of both nations at risk in a struggle of double agents, political intrigue and love affairs, still, however, make for a very cold thriller indeed.

Director: Francis Lawrence. Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Jeremy Irons, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ciarán Hinds [15]

The main take away from Red Sparrow is its boldness, it tackles the nature of its plot and story with a raw, dark and grim tenacity that is nothing less than wince-inducing at times which is certainly surprising based on the age certificate that it gotThis is echoed for Jennifer Lawrence, who has to be commended for her ‘give it all’ attitude to her roles and choices of them, equally in Red Sparrow it wants this same attitude but in an effort to have everything wrapped up neatly into a bow it fails to recognise in its generalisation it does not play into the parts of this film that could have really made it stand stronger.

While its violence may be crudely gripping, its story sadly sits tepidly throughout and stalls at crucial moments. Much like the sort of cold war era spy movies, Red Sparrow wants to get into the political intrigue, double agents and ‘who is going to cross who’ of it all. However, it juggles more than it can handle and has plot points playing on predictability which give Red Sparrow a spent feeling as you enter the middle and late half of the film. In the end Red Sparrow focuses more on a relationship that is neither believable or captivating, we sadly just do not care about these characters, from a lack of relatability and understanding of motivations especially in regard to the main character who seemingly flips back and forth between innocent, aspiration ballerina to vengeful, manipulative seductress at the flip of a switch. Highlighting Red Sparrow‘s lack of character building and development, but also its lack of clarity.

Red Sparrow juggles ideas and tone around like a newly trained circus performer, never showing proficiency or a deep level of skill but commendable on what it has been able to do. The visceral, crude and wince-inducing violence is a surprisingly welcome addition to the spy movie, a touch sorely lacking from James Bond and the like in its harsh visualisation of this profession. However, the story is overplayed and attempting to play an audience into too much resulting in an underdeveloped plot. Red Sparrow lacks a beating heart and the edge of your seat tenacity of intrigue, resulting in its cold complexion.

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