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In this spy thriller, Jennifer Lawrence is Dominika, a former ballerina forced to enter Sparrow School, a government program that thrusts her into a treacherous espionage game. She emerges as a lethal agent, but is trapped in a world she desperately wants to escape.
Red Sparrow “twists and turns until the shocking conclusion” (Andrew Freund, Dish Nation, Fox TV) – you will not see it coming.
Brand New DVD disc only, no Blu ray , shipped in white envelope. Comes with original color slip cover art. Ships right away!
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RED SPARROW was a dark, intelligent, suspenseful, complex, well-crafted movie. My expectations were for an intricate story about a character that intrigued me and that’s what it delivered. Excellent movie and yes, I've pre-ordered it.
The premise is that the Cold War never ended, just splintered and spread. A branch of the State espionage organization that uses seduction for political purposes trains its operatives (‘sparrows”) at a place known as State School 4, or “Sparrow School”. The protagonist, Domenika Egarova, played by Jennifer Lawrence, her career brought to a premature, treacherous end, finds herself in circumstances with no options other than joining the ranks of the sparrows.
Given that subject and the rating, don’t expect PG-13 Hunger Games. Or James Bond, for that matter.
There has been a fair amount of chatter about the nudity. Some have commented that there was violence and torture and that's true (it IS a story about espionage and bad people), I found none of it gratuitous, exploitative, or excessive. It was brief, used with restraint and incidental in the telling of the story. I think the director achieved the intense, visceral impact of those scenes without the gallons of gore or gruesome explicitness that many movies mistakenly substitute for "grittiness" or "realism" - and that takes skill. Lawrence remains one of the more covered young actresses working in the entertainment industry. No close-up b**b (trying to stay within community standards) shots wedged in to woo that particular target audience, which I often find annoying not because of prudery, but because they’re so obviously marketing-motivated, not story-motivated. Frankly, there is more bare jiggle in most frat house so-called comedies and most of it’s pointless. Bond movies have all of that too; just glamorized, stylized and fanciful. This isn’t a “Jane Bond” movie. This movie’s tone aims for a grittier realism.
As for Jennifer Lawrence, I think she’s an impressive talent and I like her range and her presence. She holds the screen and plays her character as smart, willful, with her own enigmatic agenda; victimized by other characters and the system, but she’s no victim. Is she playing them or being played? Who is she playing and when? I wasn’t sure which side she would end up on.
The supporting cast was strong also. Another that stood out to me; Charlotte Rampling’s ice-cold, matter-of-fact (outrageous, considering the school curriculum) sparrow school matron has the kind of line that will probably catch on in pop culture (“Every human being is a puzzle of need…”). Matthias Schoenaerts’ (the actor playing Domenika’s uncle and deputy director) resemblance to Putin is inescapable. Jeremy Irons, Joel Edgerton, Joely Richardson, and Ciaran Hinds rounded out the cast with fine performances. Mary Louise Parker pops in as a senator’s chief of staff; I always liked her. Francis Lawrence is back as the Director. I like his style of storytelling and he and JL make a good actor/director pairing.
Growing up, I loved action and spy movies; just never related to or had much interest in the female roles of the times (distressed damsels needing rescue, chick-of-the-flick, or occasional near-competent sidekick. I found them boring or incidental and I’d rewrite them in my head.). Seldom if ever as the central character, driving the story. I still love action and suspense movies and I’ll add this one to my list. Lawrence continues to impress me with the roles she chooses and what she brings to them. She has an admirable and varied body of work, still at a very young age. I’m looking forward to seeing more of it. Gotta give her props; she's a self-made lady.
Personally, one sign that a movie has definitely made the grade for me is when it’s over and I still wonder what comes next for the characters.
I DO wonder… and I’m STILLl not sure which side she’ll end up on….
Definitely recommend viewing.
Both Lawrences (Jennifer and director, Francis) could have gone the Bond/Bourne path and make her a kickass heroine (Charlize Theron beat her to it in Atomic Blonde), but instead they went for a more pessimistic and bleak tone akin to 'The Spy Who Came in from the Cold', 'Tailor, Tinker, Soldier, Spy'. It is a slow-burn Cold War era thriller with present Russia no different from its Soviet era.
Those expecting thrilling chases and spectacular shootouts will be sorely disappointed. This film focuses more on relationships between people on both sides of the 'Iron Curtain' (if it still exists!), character studies and motivations and plot mechanics that will frustrate the ADHD Marvel saturated crowd. You do get to see Jennifer in the nude briefly if it's carnal pleasure you are seeking.
What strikes me for this film if the acting. I will not reveal the plot twist but if you do get to see it the second time, do watch out for the subtle nuances and speech patterns of certain actors within the first ten minutes, that is masterclass acting there.
As for all the articles about JLs nudity - that was thankfully brief and much less than expected. If you're renting it fir that you may be disappointed
The video streaming - When I watched it the subtitles were showing about a minute ahead. I tried many things including different devices before giving up on subtitles. The speech was also off, a few seconds. That was enough to be a annoying but still watchable. I called customer service and they said they were going to refund the rental charge.