"Red Sparrow" is an interesting paradox of a movie. It’s well-made with competent performances but it fails to find a focus for much of its run time.
I enjoyed about 48 percent of the movie, leaving more than half that I didn’t.
It stars Jennifer Lawrence as a Russian ballerina who suffers a horrible injury and then is confronted by her uncle, forcing her to join an organization of spies who use elaborate seduction and psychological manipulation to extract information from their clients. Her big case is to meet up with a CIA operative (Joel Edgerton) while he’s visiting Moscow.
Her goal is to use her techniques and expertise to lull him into her confidence and then report back to her uncle. Lawrence’s character could be a female Jason Bourne, minus all the cool fighting styles. Instead she just looks really attractive and allows her wits to fight her battles for her.
The rest of movie features our two stars meeting up at convenient places and times, in order to go through the mechanics of the screenplay like a checklist.
Lawrence and Edgerton are intriguingly miscast though Lawrence does shine more than Edgerton.
The problem is the script. It feels like it’s on high and low, and doesn’t make up its mind about which direction it wants to go. There’s a lot about this movie that is more gratuitous than tantalizing and some scenes don’t have a very satisfying payoff.
It oftentimes is a great exercise in style, but that’s about all it’s got going for it.
Rated R for strong violence, torture, sexual content, language, and some graphic nudity.
Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.