This week we went to see the reteaming of The Hunger Games Franchise director Francis Lawrence and star Jennifer Lawrence, for the big screen adaptation of Jason Matthews book, Red Sparrow.
The film tells how after a horrific accident whilst performing ballet, Russian dancer Dominika (Lawrence) is recruited by her uncle (Matthias Schoenaerts) to attend Sparrow School, albeit without choice, as her injury means she can no longer afford to look after her sickly mother (Joely Richardson)
Sparrow school run by its Matron (Charlotte Rampling) teaches its recruits how to win the trust of those they are contracted to meet, this includes the art of seduction and the ability to turn off emotions, to get whatever they need.
Dominika does so well, she is hired to seduce and win the trust of American Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton) who has been getting secrets from a spy inside Russia, only known as Marble.
Dominika sees an opportunity to get away from the grasps of her uncle and sparrow school by using Nate to recruit her to work for the Americans. Can she earn the Americans trust to get what she needs, whilst still making the Russians she believes she is working for them us what the film then explores.
For those who are expecting Lawrence to be an all-action James Bond in the style of Katniss, this really won’t be the film for you, you will probably be served better by waiting for a Marvel film about Black Widow, which this film unfairly gets compared to for no other reason than that it has a strong female lead who can seduce bad guys!
Like the book, this is very much a film of meetings, as double-crossing plans are put into place although the meeting room does at least differ from Classrooms & Hotel Rooms to Prison Rooms & Restaurants, taking place in the likes of Budapest and London.
The opening half which centres on the Sparrow school is also particularly violent and disturbing as nothing is off limits as the recruits must learn to lose their emotions, so they can become masters of seduction.
The second half of the film sees Nate and Dominika try to get Marble away from the Russians to safety, yet making them believe that his identity will be revealed.
It should be noted that whilst cuts were made to secure a 15 certificate, this does feel like an 18 film, some of the fight and interrogations sequences are pretty nasty. The film shows skin being carved, strangling and sexual violence which are all pretty strong.
The film has fairly decent performances from its leads, yet the likes of Jeremy Irons; Ciaran Hinds; Mary-Louise Parker & Douglas Hodge are underused.
However, the major issue with the film is for its messages of having a strong female lead character, the film is just far too long. There are much better spy films out there but if you liked the book or the 2 leads you should enjoy it.
The film sets up the premise of the second book well but so far no decision has been made if the sequel will follow.
Watch the trailer at the films official site here:
Pre-order the film here at Amazon here:
Read our book review here:
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