RED SPARROW Movie Review: Jennifer Lawrence seduces but the movie fails to steal the thunder

Red Sparrow Movie Poster
Red Sparrow Movie Poster

The gorgeous Jennifer Lawrence is endearingly alluring in this sex-and-spy craft espionage but the movie by HUNGER GAMES fame Francis Lawrence isn,t exciting and pumped-up espionage like Charlize Theron starrer ATOMIC BLONDE or Angelina Jolie starrer SALT.

Based on the novel by retired CIA spook Jason Matthews, who is said to have squeezed all his three decades of experience in the field to write the book, RED SPARROW written by Justin Haythe for screen is a story of Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) a dancer turned sexpot spy, trained in the art of cutthroat seduction in service of the state.

While David Leitch’s ATOMIC BLONDE was sexy, dark, violent with its share of absurdity, Francis Lawrence RED SPARROW is moody and a slow burner.

Dominika Egorova a prima ballerina with the Bolshoi Ballet, meets an accident that turns fatal for her dancing career. Determined to protect her ailing mother at all costs, with the help of Uncle Vanya (Matthias Schoenaerts) the officer in Russian intelligence, Dominika gets recruited in the Sparrow School - a secret intelligence service that trains exceptional young people like her to use their bodies and minds as weapons.

After enduring the perverse and sadistic training process, she emerges as the most dangerous Sparrow the program has ever produced. Her difference with the sadistic headmistress played by Charlotte Rampling doesn’t hinder her prospects and she proves her mettle and she is off to Budapest to gain the trust of a U.S. spy named Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton) who's been receiving information from a mole buried deep in the ranks of Russian security.

Francis Lawrence seductive thriller which in its basic seed of idea does show some intimacy with the La Femme Nikita movies, but as the movie progresses and Dominika dominates the proceedings with the basic lesson best learnt by her in the sparrow school that “every human being is a puzzle of needs, the movie gets undesirably seductive and edgy. In the company of double-agents, probable moles, the movie restores to strong violence, torture, sexual content, language and some graphic nudity (Indian censors have omitted some scenes).

Jennifer Lawrence as Dominika is the best choice, she is a ‘star’ which dances with her character with passion and rightly gains all the attention in those two hours and twenty two minutes.

As a filmmaker Francis Lawrence's RED SPARROW is undoubtedly gorgeous and seductive as the protagonist Dominika but Dominika’s eye popping domination only captures your heart and fails to massage your soul. Dominika is seducing people against her will and she becomes a sparrow to ‘survive’ and her actions lacks passion and agenda. She is basically a victim. Concerning audience may not be sold by her soulless seductions while the general ones may be gamed.

It’s a puzzle in the end that we don’t know whether Dominika was happy doing all and we fail to understand her, maybe the filmmaker intended to make her haunting and mysterious - a puzzle which is finding her needs.

Rating 2/5

Movie Cast & Crew
  • Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker
  • Actor: Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Jeremy Irons
  • Director: Francis Lawrence
  • Producer: Peter Chernin, Steven Zaillian, Jenno Topping, David Ready
  • Music Director: James Newton Howard