RED SPARROW Review: 3 out of 10 (I Spy a Terrible Movie)
Are you looking for a smart spy thriller? One that promotes great roles for women in Hollywood with a female lead? One that keeps you on the edge of your seat with plot twists and action?
RED SPARROW is a spy film that is precisely none of those things. And despite JLaw's starring role, it is a misogynistic mess of a movie with a boring beginning, an overly complicated middle, and an implausibly ridiculous ending. Add in that it is way too long, derivative, laughable chemistry between the two leads, and one particular Russian accent that comes and goes (side-eye to Lawrence) and you have a film that is pretty laborious to watch...much less enjoy.
The film is directed by Francis Lawrence (no relation) and written by Justin Haythe, based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Jason Matthews and stars an ensemble cast made up of Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker, and Jeremy Irons.
Did I mention the plot makes no sense? It is one of those films in which our main character Dominika Egorova has to know things in the middle of the movie that she doesn't learn until the end. It asks the character to make decisions in the hope (or belief) that other important plot events will ultimately happen later in the movie. The only problem is those same things are completely unpredictable and unexpected. So either the character is prescient, in which case there are lots of other plot points that could have been solved... OR... the movie attempts to retcon the entire plot in an effort to tie up its loose ends at the end of the film (more likely). This is also commonly known as "The-Audience-is-too-Stupid-to-Keep-Up" Syndrome and it growing at a rampant pace in Hollywood. Dominika is a dancer in Russia and because "bad things happen" she ends up working for the State as a female undercover agent. It wants to be LA FEMME NIKITA but is closer to La Femme Mis-treata as Lawrence is raped, beaten, demoralized, and abused. Once she begins going out on actual missions as a spy(?) she meets an American CIA operative Nate Nash (Edgerton) whose name seems more befitting a hair band lead singer than a CIA agent...but I digress. Despite the lack of chemistry, it seems that the relationship between Dominika and Nate is developing into...something. Turns out there is a mole in Russia. Or one in America. Or both. Or neither. Or maybe the same. Or maybe not. Or is it all just a ruse? Could be? And what about Nash? Dominika? Are they legit? Or... is that a double agent turn I smell? A double-double? A triple-double? Two turns to a tango? Three coins in the fountain? Double Cheese/Double Mayo? These same questions are asked through an incredibly long and complicated plot full of twists and turns all of which will make sense at the end...except they don't. Also, you will likely think of burgers since the movie is so long you will be pretty hungry by the end.
There is more I could say about RED SPARROW and the confusing plot, awful accents, lack of chemistry, misogyny, and the payoffs in the last 5 minutes that are so ridiculous it requires the audience to have short-term memory loss. But I won't...this movie isn't worth it. Those audience members that think you might be getting a BLACK WIDOW type film or a female version of THE BOURNE IDENTITY are only going to be treated to staring at the screen listening to droning on and on about who is who and what is what, slackjawed at the silliness.
Just go see something else. Or take a nap. I almost did in this movie but was awoken by a wave of stupid coming from the screen. It is harder to sleep when your eyes are rolling back all the time.