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Red Sparrow Movie Review: Jennifer Lawrence Is A Lethal Prima Ballerina

Still from Red Sparrow/ 20th Century Fox

Red Sparrow Movie Review: Jennifer Lawrence Is A Lethal Prima Ballerina

Espionage, seduction, double and triple agents, racy and naughty lingerie, racier and naughtier swimsuits… Recipe for the perfect Russian spy movie?

Warning: This review is filled with spoilers. 

Red Sparrow is a pot of confusion, terrible Russian accents, awkward love scenes, and a hard as nails Jennifer Lawrence who seemed to have passed out from the school of knocks rather than Bolshoi Ballet Academy.

So without further ado, let’s skedaddle to a freezing Moscow where the Red Sparrow begins.

Jennifer Lawrence plays brunette Dominika Egorova, a beautiful Russian prima ballerina who is the star of the Bolshoi. She is the main breadwinner and has to take care of her disabled mother.   After leaving her mother with a healthcare worker, she rushes to get ready for her big performance. Her uncle Vanya Egorov, played by Matthias Schoenaerts introduces her to a creepy Russian government official who later tries to have his wicked way with her.

While she is on the stage ready to do her magic in a cherry red shiny and sparkly number, simultaneously another plot is being unveiled in a park not too far away. Joel Edgerton who plays Nate Nash a CIA agent, is on his way to secretly meet an informant from the Russian government. His secret rendezvous gets interrupted by the militsiya (Russian police.) How does a highly trained CIA agent handle this interruption? He gets emotional and fires two rounds and runs for his life.

While this chase is in process, we are taken back to Dominika’s not so dazzling ballet performance on the stage when suddenly her leg makes a cracking noise and she goes thud. She is rushed to the hospital. Thank you Red Sparrow director Francis Lawrence for showing the viewers part of the intramedullary nailing procedure with the rods supporting her cracked tibia. Seeing her up and about in three months assisted by a little cane was a sheer miracle considering that this kind of fracture takes about 4-6 months to heal. Anyways maybe the prima ballerina has stronger bones than the ordinary ballerinas or any person for that matter.

Dominika’s uncle Vanya comes to pay her a visit. He leaves her some photographs and a recorded conversation that sends her into a red rage. Before leaving he tells that her mother and herself are about to be evicted from their cramped living quarters as she is no longer part of the Bolshoi. He gives her an opportunity to earn her board and lodge – seduce the creepy Russian government official who she met before her untimely swan song.   Given no other choice, she goes to the fancy hotel and waits for Mr Creepy to show up.   He shows up all right and off they go to a very posh hotel room. Certain events occur which land her once again in front of her not so loving uncle Vanya who has yet another proposition for her – enrol in Sparrow School, the best young adult spy academy in Russia and serve her country.

This school isn’t like Hogwarts or Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Rather it is a school filled with attractive students who are taught the art of seduction. The school is run by a stern looking, non-smiley matron, played by Charlotte Rampling. This was by far the cringiest part of the movie. The spy cadets were asked to do pretty disgusting things to each other – because apparently, good seduction moves will turn the enemy putty in their hands. Dominika’s rage lands her in the matron’s office and a key member of Russian intelligence General Korchoi, played by Jeremy Irons is called for a parent-teacher kind of meet.

Dominika leaves the training half way and is given another assignment.  So technically she didn’t complete her course and didn’t become a sparrow which makes one wonder about the name of the movie. Her new assignment is to head back home, locate CIA agent Nate Nash, try her sparrow moves on him and get him to tell her the identity of his informant which she will then repeat to uncle Vanya.

Dominka first lays eyes on Nate Nash at the local swimming pool. She follows him on the train and studies his moves so she can come prepared the next day. The same evening she and her roommate spend some quality time dyeing her hair blonde. Next day, Dominika lands up for her swimming class in a skimpy swimsuit that sure gets Nate Nash to notice her. Thus starts the sparrow ballerina and CIA agent’s courtship slash mentorship slash fellowship.

Dominika masters all the spy moves pretty fast but the Russian intelligence team still doubt her competence and loyalty and have her watched constantly.

There are some pretty intense torture scenes that have blood splish splashing all over the room. Pay attention to the dialogues as it is hard to understand everyone’s Russian accent and don’t blink you may miss the plot.

I rate Red Sparrow 4/10




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