Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to a preview of Red Sparrow, with an introduction by Empire Magazine, Jennifer Lawrence herself and director Francis Lawrence. We were treated to a mini interview between the three parties above in which they discussed the most challenging scenes (ballet, for Jennifer Lawrence), and whether Jen and Francis would be working together in the future (most probably). Red Sparrow is actually their fourth film together with others including: Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part 1 and Mockingjay Part 2.
Red Sparrow Film Review
Red Sparrow is an upcoming American spy film starring Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton and Jeremy Irons. It’s based on the book of the same name by Jason Matthews, a former CIA operative. So what is Red Sparrow about?
When Dominika’s ballet career goes up in smoke she has no choice but to become a Russian “Sparrow”, a trained seductress. She’s assigned to a CIA agent to try and uncover the Russian mole but things get very intense, very quickly. I can’t reveal more than that without some serious spoilers but expect sex, violence, torture, mystery, thrills and more from Red Sparrow.
The plot of Red Sparrow is rather complex and offers much more than your typical spy drama. It’s an incredibly topical film at the moment as we see the Russian SVR and US CIA battle it out in the shadows. The plot’s success undoubtedly lies in a series of unexpected plot twists towards the end of the film. Without these, the film would have fallen flat. That said, these twists have not been handled in the best possible way and the result is a rather jumpy storyline that may confuse the unsuspecting viewer. Red Sparrow certainly kept me on my toes and Dominika holds her cards close to her chest until the very last moments of the film.
The best thing about the film is the star-studded and very talented cast. Jennifer Lawrence drives this film forwards and without her the film would undoubtedly have tanked (more than critics already say it has..). She plays a hardcore Russian femme fatale that enraptures both the other characters and her audience.Her character is mysterious af and I had no idea what to make of her until the very end. People may question Lawrence’s recent film choices but what remains consistent throughout her filmography is her unwavering talent as a leading actress. The professional ballet scenes at the start of the film required hours of daily training for months, which is no small feat, and we must give credit where credit’s due.
Jennifer Lawrence is joined by actors Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, and Jeremy Irons. Each one of these actors plays a pivotal role in Red Sparrow and, as with Lawrence, you’ll be left wondering who can be trusted and who’s just stringing us along. What’s perhaps most impressive though is the Russian accents maintained by all these actors throughout the film. It’s a difficult accent to nail, and a very difficult one to pull off without sounding ridiculous, but these actors don’t disappoint.
I have to admit the Red Sparrow film was not what I expected at all. I thought this would be something along the lines of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but instead I found a film that was intense, violent, almost gory at times. I had my hand firmly clamped over my mouth for most of it as things could turn very nasty without a moment’s notice. The film does seem to take pride in gratuitous nudity and violence so the thought of that is even slightly off-putting to you then perhaps give this one a miss.
In conclusion, Red Sparrow isn’t a film I’ll be watching again in a hurry; a) because it was pretty damn disgusting at times and b) because it won’t have the same shock factor as the first time round. That’s not to say I don’t think people should go see this in cinemas, quite the opposite in fact. I would recommend Red Sparrow to those looking for an intense and topical thriller, which will leave you second-guessing everybody’s moves from beginning to end.