I haven’t seen too many R-rated movies, and the ones I’ve seen have been rated so purely for violence and some sensuality. “Red Sparrow,” starring Jennifer Lawrence, was a solid R for the same reason. The movie is a look at covert operations within the Russian government and their spy training schools. And what a story the movie tells.
First off, let me say that I still look away from scenes in movies if they’re purely pornography (like “Game of Thrones,” for example) or actually make me look away like a little kid from the on-screen carnage. “Red Sparrow” got me a few times in those two ways, but once I got past those scenes, I really began to like the movie.
I have criticized movies like “Atomic Blonde” for being flatly unrealistic actions flicks that star women for the appearance of gender equality, almost as if to say that there aren’t physical differences between the average man and the average woman. I was hesitant of this tone when watching “Red Sparrow,” but it did not wander into the same mistakes in my opinion.
The biggest success of the movie is that we see Jennifer Lawrence as a ballet dancer, feminine in every sense. Then, upon a startling injury, her uncle offers her a job working for a covert branch of the military. She is not entered into the movie as a female James Bond. She is shown to us a woman who has good instincts on how to manipulate men through, shall we say, more carnal motives. We actually see the growth of her character though her enduring tremendous trials and pains and ultimately witnessing a failure.
In the usual three-act drama, “Red Sparrow” suffers from weak character arcs and a convoluted ending that honestly had me scratching my head thinking I had missed something big. However, I still recommended it to you if you can handle the rating. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 47 percent at publishing time. I give it a three out of five stars.
Bray Snyder is a sophomore broadcasting major. This review reflects the opinion of the author only.