Tag Archives: North by northwest

Red Sparrow (2018)

Red Sparrow Review

written by Anu Gopinath

Red Sparrow: ‘The Cold War did not end, it merely shattered into a thousand pieces.’

My Ratings: 2/5

Red sparrow, the latest offering from Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton tells the story of the post cold war era espionage but can only be deemed as a feeble attempt at the spy thriller genre and is
not fit to hold a candle to the classics like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy or The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. Red Sparrow tries too hard to be a part of that genre but the problem is… it falls flat on its face!

The film depicts the story of a Russian prima ballerina Dominica Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) who gets entangled in the spy games of the state and is forced to become a ‘red sparrow’ and eventually tells the story of her revenge and redemption.

In paper, the movie looked to have everything going for it and director Francis Lawrence tries too hard to delve into the life of the protagonist but given the limited running time of the movie, he could neither give a proper character definition for Jennifer Lawrence nor could he establish an emotional connect for the character with the audience. In his desperate attempts to successfully make the
transformation to the movie from a novel written by Jason Matthews, the director forgot the perennial rule of filmmaking. Red-SparrowIronically it’s the same golden rule that a spy lives by and that a filmmaker should never forget … “Nothing ever goes according to the plan!”.

Jennifer Lawrence shoulders the movie with her innate talent of getting into the skin of any character she plays. However same cannot be said about the multitude of talents that goes wasted namely, Charlotte Rampling and Mary-Louise Parker.

Joel Edgerton huffs and puffs through a role which hardly requires him to do anything more than a mere supporting role and it’s a shame to see such a brilliant talent with a horde of potential being thrown in to dumps of a pretty average cinema!

Jeremy Irons commands the screen presence in any and every scene he is in but is completely undone by the lack of screen time and lousy writing.

Red-SparrowIt’s the brilliance of the technical team that keeps the movie intriguing, interesting and afloat. The cinematography by Jo Willems is one of the best works I have seen in recent times. Added to that, a stunning background score by James Newton Howard successfully recreates the blanket of eerie, gloomy and mysterious atmosphere that is remnant of the cold war era Soviet Russia and the Russian federation that came into being since its fall.

Despite its 143min long running time, the movie fails to capture the attention of audience and one fails to empathise or sympathise with the lead characters . The emotional discord between the audience and movie is quite evident!

For once now, when I kick back with a glass of vodka, I can only Red-Sparrowsquirm and sigh hard at the state of spy thrillers and the movies that has come to pass as the spy thrillers and can only get nostalgic about movies like North by Northwest  or Manchurian candidate which redefined this genre and cinema.

All the flicker of hope that was rekindled with the release of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy about the resurgence of this genre has been doused !

One can only raise his glass of drink in despair and give good wishes the condition of the spy-genre that has been laid to waste. “NAZDAROVYE!”

Similar Interest: Best Conspiracy Thrillers ever made

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

My Favorites Of Alfred Hitchcock !! (10 + 1)

Best of Alfred Hitchcock.

written by Souranath Banerjee.

Hitchcock is the only director whose two films ‘Rebecca’ and ‘Foreign Correspondent’ were both nominated in the same year (1940) for the Oscars ‘Best Film’ category  – and of course ‘Rebecca’ won the award!

He himself at the 1967 Oscars delivered the shortest speech in the oscar history – he only said ‘Thank you’!

Directed more than 50 feature films, he is renowned as the ‘The Master of Suspense’.

Personally i am a huge fan and yes this time i have managed to list my favorites of Alfred Hitchcock films. If you enjoy murder-mystrey and thrillers – well, just stick to this list.

10. North by North West (1959)

north by northwest_poster

The ‘baap’ of all thrillers; speed, pace, tension gets a new meaning – a Hitchcock classic in every sense.

Cary Grant playing an advertising man is mistakenly kidnapped and framed for murder which he didn’t commit.

Before watching this film people had no clue that the crop-dusters in the lonely highways can be so effectively dangerous .

9. Strangers on a train (1951)

strangers on a train posterTwo complete strangers meet on a train and they soon cook up an unique idea to help each other by offering to – murder.

Crazy as it sounds the film is a stunner – brilliant performances, superb camera and the famous uneasy suspense for which Hitchcock is so renowned of.

Probably the most sinister plot ever filmed and made into such a successful thriller. Do watch the original classic version.

 

8. The Birds (1963)
The birds posterWhat happens if one fine morning the birds plan an attack on us?

They fly in flocks and strike viciously with the sole intent to kill the vulnerable humans.

A nightmare that Hitchcock managed to capture successfully and make a spine chilling film out of it. Scary is a too little word to define the experience of watching this classic.

 

7. The Lady Vanishes (1938)

the lady vanishes posterOne of Hitchcock’s best early works – a perfect mystery blended with a touch of romance in it.

An ordinary train journey where an old lady simply vanishes from her seat. The girl who happens to notice this strange disappearance finds it difficult to convince others – it seems  like she is the only one who misses the old woman. Mystery lovers – don’t miss it.

 

6. Psycho (1960)

pyscho poster The film Hitchcock is best known for – an ultimate psychotic story of a lonely man and his commanding mother.

Murder gets a new definition when you enter the insane world of Norman Bates – the frail looking guy who runs a roadside motel and  stuffs birds for a hobby.

If you haven’t seen this film yet – what can i say – go watch it man.

5. Rear Window (1954)

rear window posterVoyeurism at it’s best – a leg broken James Stewart plays the peeping tom watching his neighbors through his rear window.

An innocent habit which comes with it’s own side effects.

Pretty soon he watches something that he shouldn’t have and gets involved in a murder mystery which ends in a tense dramatic way that only Hitchcock can give justice to.

4. Vertigo (1958)

vertigo posterJames Stewart  joined by the mysterious Kim Novak gives (probably) his best performance in this mind boggling drama -according to me the most beautifully shot Hitchcock film ever.

Vertigo as the name suggests is the fear of heights and such a phobia can dangerously handicap a person from saving another’s life. Hmmm ….

A film with a perfect twist in the tail.

3. Rebecca (1940)

rebecca poster The only Hitchcock film that won an oscar – a true deserving master piece indeed.

The black and white elegance of the film comes out brilliantly through the awesome performances of Joan Fontaine and Judith Anderson.

Splendid story telling and the haunting scores by Franz Waxman make it all the more a chilling experience.  

2. Notorious (1946)

notorious poster Suspense and tension levels shoot up as Carry Grant and Ingrid Bergman teams up in a dangerous spy game in this Hitchcock flick.

Heart racing tense sequences masterfully constructed with the sole intension to playfully torture the audience.

Many spy films are made but this one  deserves the recognition it gets. Something special.

1. Lifeboat (1944)

lifeboat posterOne of the most underrated Hitchcock films ever – the whole film is masterfully shot inside a lifeboat (probably the smallest location ever used).

Survivors from a ship wreck (torpedoed) clusters in a lifeboat and it is the story of their survival.

A unique tale of human behavior, conflicting characters and their relations in the time of crisis.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most crazy one. A must watch).

+1. Rope (1948)

Rope-poster Imagine the trill of a perfect murder!

The body is kept inside a table and food is kept on top of it – and served to the victims parents and fiance.

A party where the only missing person is dead. Entirely filmed in-studio this one is shot in total ten long takes!

Hitchcock’s first color film and of course a must watch.