Red Sparrow is long on shock and short on engagement (movie review)
They gave me a choice: die or review Red Sparrow. I’m starting to think I should have picked the former.
Did you see Avengers: Age of Ultron? If the answer is no, you’re better off, but on the other hand, the quick montage we get in that movie of Black Widow’s backstory is more interesting and compelling than anything in this movie.
So if my opening joke did not properly set the tone for what follows, consider it now set.
With a 2018 release, Red Sparrow looks shockingly tone deaf in light of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, but the book was released in 2013 and it is true regardless of what year it is that misogyny and sexual misconduct are the rule of the land, so that’s not the problem. The issue is that what’s presented here is often illogical and bizarre.
I also think it’s well known that if you dye your hair blonde, you don’t go to the pool the next day because the chlorine will react to the chemicals in your hair and we’ll turn it green. People know that, right? Well, the people who made this movie didn’t know it or didn’t think it mattered.
But I know it.
That’s not killing this movie. The reason Red Sparrow isn’t a good film is at the heart of its boring plot, slow pacing, lack of chemistry between performers, lapses in directorial judgment, Jennifer Lawrence’s wavering accent, the dozen-or-so 3.5 inch floppy disks that are central to the plot even though this movie takes place in current-day and a million other things, including the delightful performance of Mary-Louise Partner, who does not seem to be aware of what movie she is in, but that’s hardly her fault. And I would be remiss if I didn’t at least hint at a scene that happens early on in the film that is so unbelievable that I just assumed it was a dream that could not really be happening in the context of this movie.
But it’s not a dream. No matter how much I want any of Red Sparrow not to be real, IT IS NOT A DREAM.
At 2 hours and 20 minutes, I think you may be begging for one of Red Sparrow’s assassins to put you out of your misery before it’s over. It has a few moments, but it generally chooses shock value over compelling content and offers little else while it slogs along with a plot that is not particularly difficult to follow but not worth the effort. If you’re given the choice of seeing Jumanji again or becoming a sparrow, probably see Jumanji again.