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  • Don Ford

Don Reviews "Red Sparrow"

Many cat-and-mouse style spy films have been made, like “Three Days of the Condor” and “North by Northwest” all the way to “Cloak & Dagger”. The genre has even been franchised to properties like Jason Bourne and of course James Bond. I do like a spy thriller but sometimes they get too predictable and out there from a reality standpoint, but sometimes they just get too complicated. Again, it comes to that question of when is enough truly enough.

“Red Sparrow” is the new film directed by Francis Lawrence (I am Legend, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire). Starring Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook), Joel Edgerton (Black Mass, The Gift), Matthias Schoenaerts (The Danish Girl, Rust and Bone), Joely Richardson (The Patriot, Maggie) Charlotte Rampling (45 Years, Assassin’s Creed), Bill Camp (Loving, Midnight Special), and Jeremy Irons (The Lion King, Dead Ringers). Based on the novel by ex-CIA operative Jason Matthews, it revolves around Dominika (Lawrence), a young ballerina living in Moscow and taking care of her mother (Richardson). After an accident ends her career, her uncle Vanya (Schoenaerts), a high-level person in a Russian intelligence agency, approaches her about changing careers to become a Russian operative in exchange for her being able to keep a roof over her head and care for her mother. After training, she is sent to befriend and get information on a mole amongst their ranks from an American spy named Nate (Edgerton).

The film takes place mostly in Russia and Budapest, and I noticed the lighting is mostly dark and gloomy which fits the mood of the film along with the use of constant winter. When it comes to the acting, due to the fact that this is Francis Lawrence’s fourth time working with his lead, I think they work well together as she also does with Edgerton and Rampling. My major gripe is Lawrence’s Russian accent; I have to give her kudos for trying, but it just didn’t get all the way there to the point of annoying in a few places.

At about two hours and twenty minutes, I knew the film was long but it did not drag too much. The plot did get a little complicated for me where it felt like my-brother-double-crossed-me-but-did-it-to-protect-his-wives-cousin-so-the-auto-dealer-will-not-turn-to-double-cross-the-banker. I understand it is a spy film, but this was just goo much. Also, this film is not for the entire family, with nudity, violence, and scenes of torture. I did like the film, but I will recommend this film as a Saturday matinee showing in the theaters.

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