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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