Red Sparrow is an erotic spy thriller where nothing in it works. Going into it I was either expecting La Femme Nikita or Atomic Blonde. What I got was neither. At least in Atomic Blonde you had random action scenes to interrupt the muddled boring plot. In Red Sparrow’s case we have nudity. But not enough to tantalize. Even calling this an erotic thriller seems inaccurate, because not only is this thing unerotic as hell, it also didn’t feature any noteworthy thrills to be had.
You really don’t see that many erotic thrillers being made these days. Unless you count the Fifty Shades of Grey films. But calling them thrillers is like calling Schindler’s List a comedy.
In La Femme Nikita, Nikita had to learn how to use weapons, fire a gun, even use martial arts. In Red Sparrow, all they seem to learn is how to have sex. The only training Jennifer Lawrence ever gets is, you fuck this dude. No. Okay, now fuck this dude. No. That’s some serious spy training there. And she never actually fucks anyone. She does give a handy to a soldier but that’s the extent of her training.
She even glances over at the other recruits on the gun range learning how to shoot. No time to show her learn any of that stuff, we have more important things to show you like her taking her clothes off in front of a group of students. Or in her case, refusing to do so.
She refuses to do everything they tell her to do, so why not send her on an important mission to root out a mole.
Jennifer Lawrence plays Dominika, a pretty popular Russian dancer. That is until her dance partner breaks her leg, ending her career. Thanks to her creepy uncle who works in the Russian government, she learns that her partner did it on purpose so his girlfriend could be lead dancer.
After beating them both half to death with her cane, she goes to her uncle who basically has her prostitute herself so they can blackmail her. They get her to seduce some diplomat or whatever he was.
Once she gets him into her hotel room, an assassin kills him. Now being a witness to a diplomatic murder, she has two options open to her. They either kill her or she goes off to whore school as she describes it.
Once there, she is immediately ordered to strip for the class. She refuses and we move on to… well, the rest of the whore school training mostly only consists of watching porn and getting her to take her clothes off. I’m not sure what other training she gets.
It could be that when I think of lady spies in movies, I usually think La Femme Nikita. When in reality it probably is more like this. Usually lady spies aren’t James Bond, they are seductresses put in place to either gather information or to be used as blackmail for a target. It isn’t all Atomic Blonde kungfu gun play. This takes the more “realistic” route, even though it’s the least interesting route to take. Think less Atomic Blonde and more Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. But with tits. So be careful with your expectations.
Anyway, back at whore school, Dominika is attacked in the shower by a male student who she beats the shit out of with a shower knob. Later, they try to make her screw him in front of the class. This time and the only time, she does finally strip nude. But she emasculates him and he is unable to get an erection. Now I guess her training is complete and is sent on her first mission.
Joel Edgerton plays Nash, a CIA agent that has a mole in the Russian government. During a meet, they run into a problem with some cops. Nash fires a gun, getting the police to chase after him and not the mole. With his cover getting blown, he is pulled off the case.
But without him, the asset won’t make contact.
Knowing it’s dangerous, Nash is sent back in to reestablish communication with the mole. That’s where Jennifer Lawrence’s character comes into play.
Her mission is to seduce him and try to gain his trust, making him reveal the identity of the mole.
So a few problems pop up here. That being these two have absolutely zero chemistry together. I mean, they make Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Garner’s relationship in Nine Lives look plausible.
That maybe can be overlooked. I mean, this is meant to be a spy thriller, right? So you should be constantly questioning her motives anyways. Is she on his side or is she just running a long con on him to get the name of the spy? That really should have been the focus. It’s a thriller, keep me guessing or on the edge of my seat. But that doesn’t happen either.
You know right away that she isn’t a brainwashed spy. She’s trapped having to basically prostitute herself by her uncle. So everything is just her trying to come up with a way to get out of this terrible situation.
Nash spots her as a spy almost instantly, but he thinks maybe she can be flipped. Which is exactly what she wants, no ulterior motive. She wants to help the CIA so they can get her and her dying mother out of Russia. Not getting anywhere with Nash and the name of the mole, she piggybacks on her roommate’s plan. She too is another spy who has successfully seduced a female… I forget exactly what she was. She has with her plans for some government somethingorother.
They use blackmail material to get her to hand off the plans for cash.
Unfortunately, the roommate is murdered, a reminder that Dominika has a job to do, find the mole. Also a reminder to keep her mouth shut about what she witnessed back in the hotel.
With the roommate dead and the cops wondering why a dead girl is in her apartment, she’s officially a suspect. But she can’t worry about that now, she has to deliver for the CIA and the Russians.
She sets up the meeting with the lady who has the plans. They make the exchange, swapping out the disks, which are floppy disks for some reason, with… I don’t know, blanks? Can’t be blanks… maybe fake plans. I don’t know.
Anyway, the deal goes smoothly and Dominika is on her way to deliver the package. But the CIA guys act too soon and spook the lady that traded American government secrets. While trying to get away she is hit by a car, killing her.
The Russians had a guy watching the hotel they made the deal in. After witnessing the CIA trying to arrest her, they make the call to bring Dominika in for questioning.
Her uncle supervises as they torture her to get what they need to know, is she working with the CIA.
Even with all the torture, she still refuses to break. Eventually they give her a second chance to get what they need to know from Nash. But all of that seemed pointless as they end up just tying Nash to a chair and torture him for the info they need.
This is the moment that should leave you shocked. Did she betray him? Was she really working with the Russians this whole time?! Like any good thriller would. But no, you already know that isn’t the case here. She was completely in the dark about what is happening and is obviously playing along until she can think of a way to get them out of this.
The hitman uses this skin graph device that slices a thin strip of skin from you. This was actually pretty cool. As Nash is getting tortured by this device, Dominika plays along, getting the killer to let his guard down, letting her do some of the torturing.
With his back turned, she hits him over the head with the device, scrambling to free Nash before the hitman gets back up. There’s a fight and Dominika ends up killing him.
Now with yet another body on her hands, the police are after her. Her options are thin, but she has a plan. Set up her uncle as the mole. Now the CIA has her as a double agent. And that is Red Sparrow. I didn’t much care for it. I like spy movies, it’s a good genre for delivering twists and turns. Unfortunately this film didn’t deliver any of that. I wouldn’t go as far as to say this was boring, I never found myself bored. But the thing I was was never thrilled. This had potential I think.
The only person Jennifer Lawrence has ever had any chemistry with was Bradley Cooper. Maybe just have her only work opposite him from now on. She doesn’t seem to work well with anyone else. Even in The Hunger Games I never really believed she would ever fall for Josh Hutcherson. Though that might be Josh Hutcherson’s fault.
Jennifer Lawrence comes off as kind of having a cold demeanor. I’m not sure people know how to really cast her. It’s like casting Aubrey Plaza as the hot slutty one like in Dirty Grandpa and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. That is not her strengths.
Jennifer Lawrence is more suited for roles like in Silver Linings Playbook, which is why she probably won an Oscar.
Her as the sexbomb forced into being a spy, just doesn’t work. At least it didn’t for me. Especially when a lot rides on her chemistry with her costar, who like I stated before, she has zero chemistry with.
This one gets a SKIP IT rating. It wasn’t terrible, but it did nothing for me. Maybe catch it on Netflix.
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