There’s a lot of things Red Sparrow will be remembered for 20 years from now. It’s a cold war thriller in an era where those sorts of films either aren’t made or wind up turning into loud action films. It also will probably be known as the “naked Jennifer Lawrence” film to a new generation of perverts because the Oscar winner goes fully nude in a film that would otherwise be forgotten without it.
Simple premise: Lawrence is a ballerina who’s dancing helps pay for her mother’s medical care. When she hurts her leg and can’t dance anymore her FSB uncle gives her a new job: honeypot. Trained as a sparrow, someone designed to seduce foreigners for their secrets, she’s dropped into Budapest with a target: Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton). He’s with the CIA and on a mole hunt. Throw in one on the Russian side, as well, and you’ve got the ingredients for a sexy spy thriller.
The film is a solid thriller but is trapped in a weird place. It wants to be a grand, epic spy tale that moves like a Le Carre novel but doesn’t quite have the length for it. This is a film that has all the requisites for a strong three-hour film with twists and turns, or an extended mini series of double that, but at around the 140-minute mark or so it feels too short. There’s so much to explore in the first two acts that the film’s third act feels too short.
It’s the downside of the old school spy thriller; by the time the finale comes around it ends too quickly. It’s enjoyable, and totally serviceable as a thriller, but it’s missing that final gear.
The 4k is loaded with extras that add a lot to the viewing experience.
20th Century Fox presents Red Sparrow. Directed by Francis Lawrence. Written by Justin Haythe based on the novel of the same name by Jason Matthews. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Jeremy Irons, Mary-Louise Parker. Run Time: 140 minutes. Rated R. Released on 5.22.18
Tags: jeremy irons, Joel Edgerton, Mary Louise Parker, red sparrow, Starring Jennifer Lawrence