Red Sparrow - Review
by Sofia Ferrara
Red Sparrow is the latest directorial effort by Francis Lawrence (Hunger Games, I am Legend, Water For Elephants). Set in Russia, and involving many Russian characters, the film makes use of a bizarre multitude of English and American actors, which results in a patchwork of fake Russian accents. It tells the story of Dominika Egorova, played by Jennifer Lawrence (Hunger Games, The Silver Linings Playbook, Mother!), a prima ballerina supporting and taking care of her sick mother. Following an injury, her dancing career and only source of income is compromised, which leads her to ask her powerful uncle for help. When she witnesses something she was not supposed to, she is offered a daunting choice: whether to become a russian spy or to be executed.
The film attempts to draw an empowering story through a character that does not betray herself and who she loves. However, it ends up suggesting a strong misogynistic message instead. One of the film’s central themes is the exploitation of sexuality as a form of manipulation, which is not only widely attributed to women as their only strength, but also as their deepest vulnerability. It demonstrates why it is fundamental to stress the importance of telling stories that are one’s own: the inevitable male perspective of the director struggles to find an authentic angle to the story, driven by a female character. It results in a film with flat characters, at times shamelessly stereotyped, incapable of evoking sympathy.