We follow the story of a Russian ballerina named Dominika Egorova (Lawrence), whose life of dance was cut short after an unfortunate on-stage accident that resulted in a career ending injury. Now unemployed, Dominika struggles to maintain financial stability and support her mother. That’s when her uncle (Matthias Schoenaerts) comes into the picture, offering her a unique job offer. Her mission, should she choose to accept it, is to become a Sparrow; essentially a Russian intelligence operative trained to use mental and sexual manipulation to achieve a desired goal.
The world within Red Sparrow plays out like a slap to the face. It’s shocking and gritty, telling a fascinating story while maintaining a constant sense of intrigue. Or at least it did for a while. What follows a prolonged training and introduction is the biggest bait and switch in recent cinema, and it leads to the film’s biggest issues. This is not the film you’re going to be expecting. Screenwriter Justin Haythe (A Cure For Wellness) spends so much time establishing this confronting and sexualized world where the character’s bodies don’t belong to them, only to not use any of what’s set up. We get a run of the mill basic spy premise, with Dominika forced to establish contact with Nash in order to uncover a double agent hidden within the Russian agency.
But even when looking at what this film does have to offer, it’s all so bland and uninteresting. Francis Lawrence’s bleak direction may have suited some of his previous films, but with Red Sparrow it just feels drab. Cinematographer Jo Willems struggles to find an interesting visual style. It’s all so point and shoot. There are no thrills, little shocks and all the primary plot elements are severely under-explained. They skim past so much of the important information, to the point where you’ll forget it moments after hearing it, left in the dark to wonder aimlessly in an attempt to catch up with where things are. The underdeveloped characters lose their motivations as it all becomes muddled in a plot that doesn’t know what to do with them.
You May Also Like: