It’s certainly garnered a lot of attention on release,but is Red Sparrow more of a Dead Turkey? Well it really depends on how you look at it. On viewing the trailer, it’s easy to make the assumption that this is going to be a spy thriller along the lines of Atomic Blonde.
The trailer has the sexy slow mo stair descent and snap shots of some of the excitement we hope to experience during the film, however, the film has a different tone altogether that will perplex most of the cinema goers that have put their money down for a ticket on the strength of the trailer.
Jennifer Lawrence is a prima ballerina in Russia that has a horrific injury that prevents her from dancing again. Her secret service skin crawling uncle recruits her into a world of under cover double crossing eventually sending her to Charlotte Rampling’s school for sleazy spy’s, where she has to learn how to get anything she wants from her targets, using her Wiley womanly ways.
The school is meant to house Russia’s finest agents in training, picked because of their strength and beauty, but to be honest they all looked a little run down, and most didn’t look like they would pass their Higher modern studies exam. There’s also a lot of talk of moles and Lawrence has to seduce an American agent that has caused a bit of an incident protecting a source in the middle of Russia.
I’m sure a second viewing might be beneficial as far as the plot went, but honestly I don’t think I’m really up for it. At over two hours long, this was a plodding affair. The colour palette was damp and dreary, and every location in Europe seemed to be getting beamed to us from 1975. Wallpaper is torn on the walls, everyone smokes and uses glass ashtrays the likes of which have disappeared from modern culture and the restaurants look like 18th century tea rooms. Only when we get to London did it look set in 2018 and those scenes were short and uninspired.
Now the controversy that has surrounded this films release comes in the jarringly violent and sexual scenes on offer. There are moments of nasty violence and uncomfortable sexual scenes that seemed almost deliberately shocking. Perhaps this was to off set the dreary production values, but you could hear the audience shifting in their seats at certain moments.
Now I’m all for film that breaks the mound and makes us think about our world, but this film seemed to relish in those moments, leaving little to the imagination and almost rubbing our noses in it. By the final act I was ready for it all to be over and even the reveals at the screenplay’s end left me thinking “who cares”?
This was a mean spirited violent affair that tried to lift its plodding pace with shocking moments that left me cold and uncaring for its characters. Go research Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy instead.