Not only is this film very dull, but also very unsettling.
If you ask anyone about Jennifer Lawrence, her role as the heroine Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games series would be on everyone’s mind. And because of the mainstream appeal with mostly teenage girls, most of them aren’t able to stomach her sudden transition into weird, absurd films, like last year’s Mother! The release of that film was met with audiences and film critics being divided. Regardless, Lawrence continues to choose lead roles in uncomforting and bone-chilling films, such as this Russian ballerina-turned film Red Sparrow.
Red Sparrow is based on the novel of the same name by Jason Matthews, a former CIA agent. A sudden and unexpected accident has left Ballerina dancer, Dominika, (Lawrence), unable to continue her career. So, in order to keep her and her sick mom safe, her Russian Intelligence Uncle, (Matthias Schoenaerts), assigns her to a boarding school, where she is taught to extract information out of her clients for Russian Intelligence. Eventually, she is assigned to the American Agent Nate Nash, (Joel Edgerton).
I’ll give the film credit that most of the performances from stars like Lawrence and Schoenaerts were fine (with the exception being Edgerton). However, the Russian accents some of the cast provide are very unconvincing. Also, the paper-thin supporting characters seem to just come and go, not to mention the lack chemistry between the two leads, Lawrence and Edgerton. Furthermore, it’s very important to pay attention to everything because there are a few twists in the film. Unfortunately, it’s so long, dull, yet so graphic and disturbing that it makes me understand why people would want to avoid this flick.
Overall, its slow pace, bland characters, little chemistry, and unsettling scenes make it difficult for me to recommend this. There are various films in this category – like Atomic Blonde or Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy – that are better to watch. As for Lawrence, she is a great actress (evident in other films like The Hunger Games and Silver Linings Playbook), and she deserves a better role in a more interesting film. In the end, I think her mainstream fan-base would be about as out of touch with enjoying this film as a government agency using floppy disks in the 21st Century.