Red Sparrow (2018) Review



Red Sparrow is at times tense with the cast doing their best but it’s very slowly paced and lacks much in the way of action.

Plot: Prima ballerina Dominika Egorova faces a bleak and uncertain future after she suffers an injury that ends her career. She soon turns to Sparrow School, a secret intelligence service that trains exceptional young people to use their minds and bodies as weapons. Egorova emerges as the most dangerous Sparrow after completing the sadistic training process. As she comes to terms with her new abilities, Dominika meets a CIA agent who tries to convince her that he is the only person she can trust.

Review: I wasn’t sure whether to review Red Sparrow on this site or The Movie Elite as it kind of defies genres; it’s more of a spy thriller with some mystery but seriously lacking in any action. It certainly does have plenty of brutality and it’s not an easy watch. I’m also pretty sure it’s not going to explode at the box office as it’s far too grim a tale for a mass audience. The cast alone will have bums in seats for the first weekend but I don’t see it being a huge hit due to the dark nature of the storyline.

Jennifer Lawrence likes to play very different roles in every movie and no one can say she is afraid to challenge herself as an actress; I have found that all too often however, she plays characters I don’t really care about and Dominika Egorova is one of them. She is cold and aloof so we never really get an idea of what she is thinking other than she will do anything to keep her sick mother safe. Dominika does go through absolute Hell though so you certainly sympathize with her as she does whatever it takes to complete her mission.

I won’t go into any story points as I never like to spoil a movie but I can say that Red Sparrow is unpredictable and at times tense but most of all unflinchingly brutal. There are a few nasty torture scenes and the camera doesn’t pan away even when you’d really like it too. You are challenged as the audience and this is a very adult oriented thriller so for that it should be commended.

The supporting cast are superb including Jeremy Irons, Joel Edgerson and Ciaran Hinds; Lawrence herself gives one of her best performances even if her accent does slip the odd time and she doesn’t exactly ooze chemistry with Edgerton.

I found Red Sparrow to be a little too long at around 2 hours and 19 minutes; at times it really drags and everyone looks slightly depressed with every location looking cloudy and dull. There is very little levity so you have to wonder why would you pay to watch a movie that makes you feel miserable? If I want to feel depressed I’ll look at my bank account.

As I mentioned, there is little in the way of action other than a brief fight scene but even then it never gets all that exciting; the finale is at least satisfying and ties everything up nicely.

Overall, Red Sparrow is a sometimes tense affair with the cast at the top of their game but it’s such an unpleasant and dreary watch that it’s hard to recommend. If you’re expecting a female James Bond type movie this is not for you as there is little in the way of action. I’d wait for Netflix.