A reporter reviews “Red Sparrow”
Content warning: This film review references rape scenes.
While the film “Red Sparrow” might be upsetting to some audiences, the plot line keeps viewers on the edge of their seat throughout the film.
“Red Sparrow” follows the story of Dominika Egorova, played by Jennifer Lawrence, a Russian ballerina who is forced to work for the government as a spy after suffering an on stage accident to support her sick mother.
The film is a unique take on the spy thriller genre. Sparrows, in the film, are Russian spies that use their sexuality to coerce targets to share information. Dominika’s sparrow training is intended to break down all of her barriers around her sexuality and make her see herself as property of the Russian government.
With a 6.7 out of 10 on IMDb and a 48 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, “Red Sparrow” is not getting astounding reviews. Critics comment that while Lawrence’s acting was great, it isn’t enough to make up for poorly developed characters and a convoluted storyline, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
It is important to note that there are two fairly graphic rape scenes in the film that are difficult to watch. Using sexuality as a means for female power is also a problematic plot driver because some might say that it promotes feminism in the wrong way or that it promotes rape culture.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, “Red Sparrow” director Francis Lawrence said he was unsure what audiences would think about the depiction of sexual violence following the “Me Too” movement and Time’s Up campaign, which Jennifer Lawrence has played a role in.
The first half of the film makes Dominika seem like a woman simply doing what she needs to survive, even if that means using her body as a weapon. It is clear that Dominika does not approve of her government’s choices on how to exploit her sexuality, but she doesn’t have a choice.
The first half has audiences confused to how this is supposed to be a female empowering movie. However, the film begins to show more of Dominika’s motives toward the end of the film and audiences realize that she is so strong and powerful because of her intelligence and her cunning nature.
Lawrence’s Russian accent was consistent throughout the film. Often, when actors use an accent for a role, the accent can tend to trail off toward the end of sentences or even change throughout filming. Lawrence’s accent did neither of these things. The accent was also a subtle one that wasn’t too jarring. Actors can tend to portray Russian accents in a way that is too thick, but Lawrence’s seemed natural and fitting for her character.
The action sequences in the film were unexpected and graphic. Characters behaved in ways that audiences members would probably not foresee, and the fighting looked real without an overuse of jump cuts in the filmography. There was quite a bit of gore used in the action sequences that might make some audience members want to turn away or close their eyes, but the graphic nature made the scenes feel more authentic.
Overall, “Red Sparrow” is worth watching as long as viewers go into the film aware that it contains scenes with sexual assault and gore.
Note: Reviews are opinions that belong to the reporters and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Western Front.