Usually, the best thing about a movie Jennifer Lawrence is in is her being in it and she is the best thing in “Red Sparrow”.
The set up is simple with a Russian ballerina suffering a career-ending accident during a performance and is forced, by her pedophile uncle, to go to a Russian intelligence school referred to “Sparrow School”, where sex and body are used as weapons, in order to continue taking care of her sick mother.
From then on we are watching a convoluted screenplay by Justin Haythe that is even more confusing when tried to explain at the end and, in my opinion, does or doesn’t point a finger at the mother.
The sex, of which there is plenty, and a lot of nudity, is gratuitous and worse, boring. The violence is almost to the point of the audience vomiting along with some of the movie’s characters. The British Board of Film Classifications had the film to take out parts of a particular scene—I wish they had taken it out completely!—to get a less certification for strong, sadistic violence. Rated is “R” in the USA for ‘strong violence, torture, sexual content, language and, yes, smoking’!
The direction by Francis Lawrence is haphazard and very slow moving for what is a spy thriller. The ‘love story’ is far from believable and there doesn’t seem to be any ‘heat’ by the two stars.
Jennifer Lawrence has a couple of striking scenes, one as the ballerina and one of her in a sparkling red dress that is more interesting than anything that happens in this movie.
Her co-stars do their best but with a bad script, a very talky, slow-moving 139 minutes spy thriller that doesn’t really thrill, “Red Sparrow” a book trilogy should start and end with this one.