Red Sparrow (2018)
This movie appeared like it would be a cross between Atomic Blonde (2017) and Black Swan (2010). I always find it interesting how after such a unique film like Atomic Blonde is released, shortly after we get a copycat movie (I will talk more about this concept in a post in the near future).
I have gotten fed up with actors and actresses feeling the need to be politicians. As if their political opinions matter. Please just do what you do best and stick to filmmaking. It gets a little old when they stir up the negativity.
All politics aside, Jennifer Lawrence is a talented actress. I feel that she proved her ability in her role in Silver Linings Playbook (2012). She has a tendency to make insanely outrageous statements that are about as inappropriate as some of the things that come out of President Donald Trump’s mouth. This has started to taint my view of Lawrence as an actress. If she was a little more careful with her words publicly, I would respect her more.
Prior to seeing this movie, I went to the theater with an open mind. Instead of having a biased and negative opinion before even seeing the film, I thought I would let Jennifer Lawrence’s acting do the talking and drown out the crazy things that she says publicly.
Red Sparrow is about a damaged Russian ballerina who finds herself training to be a “Sparrow”, a Special Agent of sorts for the Russian government. She is tasked with getting information from the American C.I.A. and becomes entangled between both governments working against each other.
The movie was directed by Francis Lawrence and the noteworthy cast includes Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Shoenaerts, Jeremy Irons, Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker, Ciaran Hinds, Joely Richardson, Douglas Hodge, Bill Camp, Sakina Jaffrey, and Thekla Reuten.
The film did in fact, feel like a cross between Atomic Blonde and Black Swan. However, there was much less action than Atomic Blonde and far more drama. It has the surprising sexual darkness of Black Swan, only much more magnified. The graphic violence in the movie is a lot more twisted and vicious than Atomic Blonde.
I did not think that Jennifer Lawrence was going to be able to pull off a Russian accent. I was worried that this would really take away from the movie. For the most part, the accent was OK though. Towards the end of the film, it started going in and out, but overall was believable. Her performance was quite gritty. There were some surprisingly twisted nude scenes. It definitely has the shock value.
Edgerton’s character was likable, but he was a little underused. His character was not quite developed enough. That was acceptable, because it really is Jennifer Lawrence’s movie. However, I feel like this did take away from the film. The chemistry between the male lead and female lead was just not there.
I did feel like Red Sparrow was trying really hard to be like Atomic Blonde. All the way down to platinum blonde hair and Stoli vodka. Charlize Theron was a much bigger badass in Atomic Blonde than Jennifer Lawrence was Red Sparrow. Atomic Blonde was a lot more fun and exciting. The dark subject matter in Red Sparrow was not broken up with any humor or much fun. I feel that took away from the overall quality of movie because it makes the 2 hours and 19 minutes runtime feel like that amount of time. They did not cut the tension and therefore it felt like it was trying too hard to be too dark.
This is a shadowy spy thriller that pulls no punches. It is intentionally and methodically puzzling. The film is a little rough around the edges, but overall is well-made and well-acted.
I rate this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10.
If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:
Atomic Blonde (2017)
Black Swan (2010)
Casino Royale (2006)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Mission: Impossible (1996)
Mission: Impossible III (2006)
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)
The Iceman (2012)
The Iceman is the chilling true story of one of the most famous contract killers named Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon). He was known as “The Iceman.” Kuklinski was believed to have killed at least over 100 people. He had ties to the mob and he had his family convinced that he was a businessman.
The movie is directed by Ariel Vromen.
This is another limited release movie with a huge cast that also includes Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, Ray Liotta, Robert Davi, David Schwimmer, John Ventimiglia, Danny A. Abeckaser, James Franco, and Stephen Dorff.
Why does a movie like this have such limited release? The only answer that I can think of is that a film about a real-life serial killer is not a topic that would be popular to the general public. We all know that is not true with all of the hardcore violence in movies and television these days. So, the question still remains and I don’t have a real answer for it.
I knew absolutely nothing at all about “The Iceman” before watching The Iceman with the exception that he was a real hit-man at one point in time, and I had seen the trailer for the movie. What I learned about the guy from the movie was creepy and insane. It kind of makes me want to read the book that the movie was based off of written by Anthony Bruno called “The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer.”
Michael Shannon has been a wonderful character actor ever since his first film appearance in Groundhog Day (1993). In more recent years he has successfully made the transition to making movies as an awesome main character. This trend started when he made Take Shelter (2011). In The Iceman Shannon is electrifying. His performance is nothing short of deserving Oscar gold. He was extremely convincing as a stone-cold murdering lunatic with a love for his family.
Chris Evans was unrecognizable at first, but very entertaining.
Winona Ryder made a big comeback in Black Swan (2010). In The Iceman, I think that she successfully clinched her comeback into the spotlight. She brought talent to the movie not seen out of her since the 90s. Dare I say another person from this film deserves an Oscar? She should at least be nominated.
I would say that 2012 is the year that Ray Liotta died as an actor and then was resurrected. He looked and acted like death in the unwatchable Killing Them Softly (2012). He was resurrected in The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) and he became his old bad-tempered self again in The Iceman.
The rest of the cast was there to put all of the pieces of this true serial killer story together.
As expected, the movie was brutally violent and loaded with f-bombs. What I did not expect was the strong presence that each of the main characters had on screen. They each did an outstanding job in becoming the real people that they were playing and telling their terrible story on film. Their performances made the movie powerful and worth watching.
I think that it is worth tracking down a theatre that is actually playing this movie and checking it out for yourself, that is, if you are a fan of true crime films.
I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.