Dominika Egorova was a famous ballerina in Russia until one night she sustains a serious injury. Sent to ‘Sparrow School’ in order to keep her life afloat, she is trained to use her mind and body as a weapon. Following the completion of the sadistic training regimen, Egorova is tasked with winning over a CIA agent.
From the beginning, this film is extremely intense. I don’t just mean fast paced and entertaining, I mean jaw clenching and wincing intense.
I must admit that I find it very hard to see Jennifer Lawrence as anything other than Katniss Everdeen. I know, I know, you can’t define an actor/actress with just one role, but I just love those films and that’s where I first watched her perform. In this film however, it’s clear to see that she has very much grown as an actress and is one hell of a force to be reckoned with.
The film starts with Lawrence portraying a famous ballerina on the night of a big performance in front of an array of important individuals. You watch as Egorova goes from being sexualised by diplomats making crude jokes to her partner leaping in the air and landing on her calf, snapping it in half (sorry, spoiler alert!). Not only was I not expecting it, but I was absolutely mortified – superstar to nobody in a matter of seconds!
**Below mentions some possible triggers, be warned.**
With the company no longer paying for her and her mother, Egorova is forced to speak to her extremely dodgy and creepy uncle. He enlists her help with the ‘joke’ making diplomat from earlier. Again, I thought nothing of it, I knew she’d have to seduce him etc but y’know, standard spy things in my opinion. And I was right… to some extent. What I didn’t expect was the rape and how graphic it all was, and thanks to Lawrence’s acting I really bloody felt Egorova’s pain.
Somehow, this means that she’s perfect for Sparrow School, which I believe to be both badass and completely un-necessary at the same time. Fair play training spies to be top notch at persuasion and seduction, but the way they teach it… That could do with a little more sugar, spice and everything nice.
And the rest of the film continues like the above providing mixed feelings of awe for how badass she becomes; shock for how they continue to do unspeakable things to one another (skin peeling is possible the worst kind of torture) and fascination for how interesting and dynamic the film is. The twist perfectly concludes the whole affair and I cannot express my happiness for the justice that Egorova receives after having being beaten half to death!
TLDR; Go and see this film, Lawrence is a ruthless character that does not hesitate to push at any and all boundaries. BUT be warned that it is way more graphic than any other 15 I have ever seen!
Red Sparrow certainly doesn’t shy away when it comes to adult themes. From scenes you’d feel uncomfortable watching with your parents to, well, more of those scenes actually, Red Sparrow is a graphic and gritty experience from start to finish.
Now, for those who haven’t read the novel (like myself), Red Sparrow is not your James Bond-like action spy thriller full of expensive cars, hand-to-hand combat, and over-the-top stunts. No, it is much more subtle, much more real than that. This is the story of a young woman whom, because of a ‘unfortunate accident’, is forced to play her uncle’s game otherwise she has to die.
There were moments through out Red Sparrow that I found incredibly difficult to watch (one scene involving a skin grafting device in particular) due to just how violent and graphic they were, tie those moments in with full blown nudity and rape: the fact that the film is only certificated at a 15 astounded me. On the other hand, many shots throughout the film were beautiful and reminded me somewhat of the stunning cinematography of Skyfall (2012), with some stunning contrast of colours and lighting.
I would certainly recommend giving Red Sparrow a watch, just please don’t bring the kids.