Movie review: ‘Red Sparrow’

Jennifer Lawrence shows dedication to role in sexy spy film

In this image released by Twentieth Century Fox, Jennifer Lawrence appears in a scene from "Red Sparrow." (Murray Close/Twentieth Century Fox via AP)

“Red Sparrow” is similar to its titular character; it looks attractive from the surface, but disappointedly boring upon deeper analyzation.

After undergoing a career-ending injury, Russian ballerina Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) must adjust to her new life as a sparrow, a secret intelligence agent trained to use her mind and body as a weapon. She develops into the best sparrow in the program through the existence and cruel training she undergoes. However, after meeting Nathaniel Nash, an American CIA agent, she begins to question where her loyalty lies. All she knows is she can trust only Nash as the two become emotionally attached to one another. Soon, the relationship proves to be dangerous for the two as she tries to further her own agenda.

A story like this is a repeat of numerous existing spy thrillers, the only difference of this film being its focus on sexual manipulation. If this conceptual plot addition was necessary, the movie would have been more worthwhile. There is no problem with explicit content if it there is a purpose for it. It appears as if the only reason it was included was in attempt to disguise the unoriginal plot. No gratuitous scenes, whether they were sexual or violent, coincided with the narrative. This could have helped pare the prolonged running time, one of the issues with the film.

“Red Sparrow” is a character-driven film that relies heavily on the audience’s attachment to the characters. Sadly, throughout the film, the characters were never worth caring for, mostly due to the lack of motivational understanding. Many times, Dominika’s action did not agree with her character development, fostering frustration in the audience. Furthermore, the relationship between Dominika and Nash was not genuine. Building a romance between two spies requires at the very least, not rushing it. I did not care about the fate of the two since I was never on board to begin with.

Though the characters were not believable, the performances in the movie certainly were. Jennifer Lawrence is the main reason to see this film. This is her boldest role yet, one in which she took risks. She was in some very uncomfortable scenes that many could not build up the courage to do. This must be appreciated, in addition to the fact Lawrence learned how to both imitate a Russian accent and authentically dance ballet. This believably demonstrates Lawrence’s commitment to any role. Joel Edgerton was great once again as well as Matthias Schoenaerts as Dominika’s conniving uncle.

“Red Sparrow” tries to be something more than it actually is, a conventional spy thriller. Its delivery on many standpoints cannot make up for its lackluster story and characters. Its emphasis on graphic content does not distract the viewer from the pacing that slows almost to a crawl for the majority of the film. This movie is a tease, just like the Red Sparrow herself.

Quinn Deitrick is a junior at Loyalsock Township High School. Movies are a true passion of his that he hopes he can develop into a career one day. By writing reviews, he strives to give a helping hand to inform people if a movie is worth their time and money.