Red Sparrow

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Red Sparrow

As a Russian spy who uses sex to her advantage, Jennifer Lawrence is put through the ringer in a punishing thriller that never quite takes wing.

Not long after the heavy-handed ‘Atomic Blonde’ slipped Charlize Theron into the high heels, platinum wigs and dubious accent of a globetrotting spy, a stony-faced Jennifer Lawrence leads the way in the bleak, excessively long ‘Red Sparrow’, which sets off promisingly but tangles into a confusing clump. Lawrence plays disciplined Russian prima ballerina Dominika Egorova, whose career ends after a spine-chilling (yet attractively filmed) accident during a performance at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater. To safeguard her frail mother and maintain their financial security, Dominika accepts the offer of her scheming uncle (Matthias Schoenaerts) and enrolls at Sparrow School as a new intelligence recruit. There, she learns to master the arts of sexual and psychological manipulation through a humiliating training process, headed by a menacing Charlotte Rampling (who disappears from the film before we get nearly enough of her).

The set-up is not unlike ‘The Hunger Games’ (‘Red Sparrow’ director Francis Lawrence also worked on that saga, helming all but the first chapter), with Dominika’s body technically owned by a callous government. Paradoxically, ‘Red Sparrow’ itself puts its glum-looking star through a parade of indignities: The movie’s most shocking feature isn’t any of its twisty plot reveals – mainly involving Dominika getting romantically mixed up with a CIA operative (Joel Edgerton) – but the exploitative brutality it rains down on Lawrence. A smashed leg, physical torture and rape are just a few of the atrocities she endures. (Is it wrong to hope that Lawrence takes on something lighter next time, after ‘Mother!’ and now this?) With its highbrow ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’–like ambitions unrealized, ‘Red Sparrow’ ultimately plays a lot simpler than it initially suggests, even if a cathartic conclusion rewards the patience of those with tough constitutions.

By: Tomris Laffly


Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Thursday March 1 2018
Duration: 139 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Francis Lawrence
Screenwriter: Justin Haythe
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence
Joel Edgerton
Charlotte Rampling
Matthias Schoenaerts

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3.3 / 5

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Jennifer Lawrence is just fascinating to watch in Red Sparrow. I enjoyed every minute of it, even when I had to cover my eyes for some of the scenes. I'd advice maybe not going to see this with your parents unless you feel comfortable watching pretty heated scenes with them! Maybe I'm biased due to my obsession with Lawrence but I think it's definitely one to watch.


Make sure you're sitting comfortably before you start watching this movie as you're definitely going to be there a while! Red Sparrow has a great start but I think they tried too hard with plot twists and many unnecessary scenes which ended up making the film drag on and also a little confusing! However, if you have the patience then it does what it says on the tin and is a thriller, with some very uncomfortable torture scenes which Lawrence plays extremely well. All in all, I wouldn't take a trip to the cinema for this one unless you're a huge Lawrence fan, rather wait until its out on DVD!

This starts off well - and the presence of the likes of Jeremy Irons and Charlotte Rampling certainly adds a touch of class - but it is just too long. Once again, lack of skillful editing results in what could have been a good movie becoming laborious and tedious. And the determination to hold on to that 15 rating means it never quite has the balls it thinks it does. Nice ending, but boy does it drag...


Tacky, tedious,,and very long. Unhappy to find Jeremy Irons & Charlotte Rampling  involved with this crap?