As most of us can probably agree, any movie that Jennifer Lawrence makes has got to be better than mother!, it just has to. mother! is the end all, be all of bad films directed by a cry baby who gets mad every time someone doesn’t like his student film. Wait, wasn’t I reviewing RED SPARROW? Oh yes, well of course Red Sparrow is better than mother! In fact, Red Sparrow is actually pretty decent and yet again showcases how amazing it is that Jennifer Lawrence is this great at acting, dropped out of middle school, and didn’t even take acting lessons. Is it the end all be all of Russian/American tension spy flicks? No. Could you consider this just a Black Widow movie with a title. NO. I’m tired of people saying that too. Red Sparrow is its own thing, and it does it pretty well.
I’m disagreeing mostly with the critics on this one. I admit it is a little too long, as probably 30 minutes could’ve been cut from its 2 hr and 20 minute run time, but it has a solid story and will keep most of you guessing till the very end. I guessed how everything was going to play out 40 minutes in, but still had fun with the journey to get there. Some critics are claiming that the movie is really hard to follow. Yeah, only if you are not paying attention at all. For a quick synopsis for you, it is about a ballerina (Lawrence), after getting into a career ending leg injury, is recruited by her uncle into the Sparrow program, spies and agents that use their sexuality to get what they want. There is a mole in the Russian syndicate, and only an American CIA operative (Joel Egerton) knows who it is as he does a shit ton of drops with him. The American is the ex-ballerina’s target, but when the game of cat and mouse gets complicated, who is playing who, and what is the ultimate goal?
The movie is more sophisticated than that, but saying anything else would ruin anything. The great Jeremy Irons, and the always reliable Mary Louise Parker are involved and in this as well, and they are good with the very small and limited roles that they have. This is completely the Jennifer Lawrence show. She is almost in every scene, with yes, a heavy Russian accent that I didn’t mind and got quite used to fast, and she puts her acting chops to great use. I don’t think Jennifer Lawrence has ever really phoned in a performance, even with the terrible horror movie House At The End of The Street, and she was really the only good thing in mother!. There is never once where I’ve looked at one of her performance and have thought, “Yeah, that is just her playing herself.” She really is my favorite actress.
Also, Joel Egerton is always good and underrated in everything that I see him in. If you don’t really know who that is, he’s been in several things like Uncle Owen in the prequel Star Wars Trilogy, The Gift, and he played the cop orc in Bright. Don’t be fooled by the marketing on this one either. This is not an action film. In fact it is closer to torture porn than it is an action film with some very cringe worthy scenes of knife stabbings and skin peelings. If those don’t float your boat then this movie might not be fore you. Director Francis Lawrence, who directed Jennifer in the last three Hunger Games films, has made a pretty film here too. The shots and cinematography are dark and somber and I liked watching how everything came together. It is definitely his best film since Catching Fire.
Well, nothing much left to say other than if you enjoy a decent spy flick that is light on the action but focuses more on the realism, you’ll like this one to. Is it one of the years best films at the end of 2018? Hardly. But there are much worse films to watch, and ones that will completely waste your time. This doesn’t waste your time, in my opinion.