Red Sparrow has been all over the media this week with criticism of overtly sexual scenes filled with gratuitous gore, mixed with a dull plot and lack of depth. I must admit, I don’t know what film everyone else was watching because I thought it was fantastic!
Red Sparrow is a classic dark spy thriller, with added violence to make it grittier and stand out from the rest. The plot features loads of twists and turns, and through the entire narrative, you’ve no idea who is working for who, and who is stabbing who in the back. As soon as a twist happened that I predicted, a further twist occurred which threw me off, and this continued the drama and intrigue right until the credits. I thought the plot was brilliantly simple, with enough uniqueness to offer something new to the spy genre.
The performances in the film are fantastic, and most of the critical praise must go to Jennifer Lawrence. I’ve seen her described as a chameleon before, and I must agree. She really does inhabit any character that she plays with such gusto and style that you really do forget it’s all an act, and instead get whisked away into another world. Joel Edgerton is equally entertaining to watch as an American operative, and Jeremy Irons and Matthias Schoenaerts (who looks JUST like Vladimir Putin, it’s uncanny) are great additions to a very strong cast.
The plot has very clear undertones of the battle between Capitalism VS Marxism, and the question of which is preferred or better. It makes many subtle arguments about freedom, the powers of the state, and who is really in control of who. In this current political climate, these arguments felt a timely and intriguing addition to the script.
As I stated earlier, there’s been a lot of (negative) press about the film being overly sexual and using gratuitous violence. I must admit that I totally disagree with this criticism. The whole idea of the Russian ‘Sparrow’ training programme is to train agents to seduce their targets. Without the sexualisation, this plot point would be totally pointless. As well as this, all of the severe violence that is encountered only goes to prove the power of the Russian state, and the grasp they have over all their inhabitants. That being said, I disagree with the 15 rating, and with the amount of blood, as well as the total nudity of both men and women being seen, I do believe that the film should have received an 18 rating.
Overall, I really think you should ignore the general critical consensus and see the film for yourself. I found it to be deliciously gripping, beautifully stylish and featuring some stellar performances.
Seriously though, the Schoenaerts/Putin resemblance is UNCANNY!