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)
As I mentioned in my review of The Hunger Games (2012), I told my friend that I would see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire with him, even though I was not very interested in either of the films. I’m not going to watch a sequel to a film without first watching the original, so I watched The Hunger Games at home before going out to the theatre. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed The Hunger Games, and this made me excited to see the sequel. I would certainly not recommend watching The Hunger Games: Catching Fire without first watching The Hunger Games. It is pretty much essential to watch the movies in order.
I would advise against reading the rest of this review if you have not yet seen The Hunger Games.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire picks up where the first film left off. Through an act of defiance, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) were the winners of the 74th annual Hunger Games. Their public defiance was enough for the government to want to make an example out of them by punishing them in hopes of preventing a revolution.
The film was directed by Francis Lawrence and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Lenny Kravitz, Liam Hemsworth, Jeffrey Wright, Amanda Plummer, Jena Malone, and Toby Jones.
Like most sequels, I expected this movie to be a step down from the first film. My expectations were wrong once again. It’s a rare thing that a sequel is better than its predecessor, but this is exactly the case with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It’s as if the filmmakers ironed out all of the kinks from the first movie in order to make the sequel.
Everything that I liked and disliked about The Hunger Games was improved upon in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It was another welcomed surprise. The acting was more passionate, the special effects were sharper, the story was more interesting, and the quality of the film as a whole was just plain better.
Fans of The Hunger Games will undoubtedly like The Hunger Games: Catching Fire even more. The film is a higher caliber and therefore delivers a stronger potency.
I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.