Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Red Sparrow (15)

There are many reasons to see a film - the trailer looked good, it's part of a franchise you've been following, it's got a great cast, it's on at a convenient time...

You know, lots of factors come into play when you decide to head to your local multiplex.

And you are left rueing most of them when the film is so steamingly boring you are actually considering stabbing yourself with your keys just to liven things up.

Fortunately, Red Sparrow is a spy film and you've got to go some to make a spy film dull.

I'm not saying it's impossible, just that it takes a lot of effort.

Thankfully, the team behind Red Sparrow were more than up to the challenge...

In simple terms, a ballet dancer gets recruited into the Sparrow programme, gets trained and goes on a mission.

The Sparrow programme? Well, I'm glad you asked.

Here the Russian secret service train recruits to kill, maim, torture, seduce, shag, bonk, fondle and fumble their way to their designated goal.

And if you're unsure how any of that would look, fear not - it's all laid bare for you so you don't have to tax your imagination.

It's probably worth pointing out at this juncture that Red Sparrow is a 15, although how it got away with that rating is beyond me.

The Sparrow on this occasion is one Jennifer Lawrence. Who, to be fair, hung on for a bit after winning her Oscar but is now doing the curse full justice.

And she's... good. Ish. I think.

She does cold and detached well, handles the action scenes well and looks as awkward as the audience feels when getting her kit off.

Which, to be fair, is almost certainly the point.

It's just totally unnecessary.

But then there's a lot of that here.

The Russian accents also fall into this category.

As do the many torture scenes.

And some of the dialogue.

And the bit at the end where they explain everything that happened.

To be honest, if my viewing companion wasn't "kind of" enjoying it, I don't think I'd have made it to the end.

Essentially, the problem is one of pace. This is a film that never gets out of second gear.

It's a thriller at heart, and yet it lacks thrills and thinks cheap sex antics will get the pulse racing.

Jeremy Irons seems to be amusing himself while playing a top Russian bod, and Joely Richardson appears puzzled about her involvement. Joel Edgerton, meanwhile, just continues to play Joel Edgerton.

Ultimately, this is one massive mess of a missed opportunity.

We could have had a an action-fuelled thrill chase, we could have had tension and drama - instead we get dubious sexual politics and a film so dull I got RSI from checking the time.

The biggest problem here, however, is one of vision - in that director Francis Lawrence didn't have one.

There's also no depth, no substance, and no suggestion the hugely talented cast were told to do anything more than say words at each other.

Red Sparrow should have flown, but instead... Oh screw it, you finish the analogy, I've lost the will to live.


  1. Will you please say WHAT YOU MEAN? Was it any good?

  2. We feel people should find out for themselves....