Thanks to 20th Century Fox we had the chance to see Red Sparrow before its Australian cinematic release. This is our review of the movie, but as usual, no matter what we say, we still recommend you to go and see it at your local cinema because there is no better critic than yourself!
Did you enjoy Atomic Blonde? We didn’t, but it seems to have its fans. Red Sparrow, in theory, ticks some of the same boxes, with a strikingly attractive femme-fatale protagonist, gloomy, desaturated Eastern European locations and lots of doublecrossing. Sadly, Red Sparrow amounts to Atomic Blonde without the action or cool music.
Jennifer Lawrence puts a decent effort into her performance as Dominika Egorova, a Russian prima ballerina who becomes a covert agent called a “sparrow” when an injury kills her dancing career. At the same time, an American CIA operative named Nate Nash (played by Joel Edgerton) fluffs an assignment and, through a series of events linked to this mistake, the two become intertwined.
Sadly, there’s nothing much of interest in Dominika or Nate’s characters. Dominika seems to have an endless reserve of strength to get her through the horrors she endures, but it comes across as merely stoic rather than a steeled resolve covering any vulnerability. We do know her motivation, but it’s not particularly well integrated into the story.
What this film has going for it is the location work, although in terms of period detail, it doesn’t make sense. You have LCD monitors and thin laptops, but also floppy disks, and the general aesthetic is more peak-Soviet than post-Perestroika. The Russian agents really feel like something from the early Bond era. Even the lush score feels better suited to an older film.
Overall, it’s average. It’s got a degree of style and edginess going for it, but it’s slow, dry and overlong.
Red Sparrow – In Cinemas 1 March 2018