Spying still big part in relations

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ASSET MEETS BAGMAN: Red Sparrow (Jennifer Lawrence) tries to seduce CIA agent Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton) into giving up a few secrets.

Red Sparrow

  • Thriller; Cert R16, contains violence, sexual violence, offensive language, sex and nudity; 2hrs
  • Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Jeremy Irons, Joely Richardson, Matthias Schoenaerts, Sergei Polunin, Sergej Onopko, Kristof Konrade
  • Director: Francis Lawrence

JENNIFER Lawrence (The Hunger Games) has become America’s new sweetheart, and nobody likes it when their sweetheart cheats on them.

In Red Sparrow, not only does she cheat on America – she does so with zeal and a certain lack of regret. What a harlot.

Lawrence plays a ballerina at the height of her career with the Bolshoi, who is accidentally (perhaps) and permanently injured by her lead ballerino and lover during a performance.

She exacts her revenge on her former partner and his new lover with a five-iron while they have sex. This, of course is Lawrence’s first mortal sin – good girls never exact revenge in Hollywood.

With her career at an end and the lease running out on the lavish apartment she shares with her handicapped mother – enter her Uncle Vanya (a nod to Chekov?), who puts her into spy school.

As a “Red Sparrow” – a soviet-era name for the femme fatale Russian spies that were released across Europe and North America (also known as “sleeper agents”) she is taught the finer points of assassination, poisoning and manipulative sexual gratification.

Needless to say, Lawrence’s character is anti-establishment and fails to impress her handlers. She refuses to have consensual sex with every man they put in her way. Leading her to be a prime candidate for attempted rape – rapes that are foiled in one way or another by the sudden appearance of a guardian angel.

Red Sparrow has in turn been blasted either for its “graphic” sex – that isn’t graphic by any contemporary standard, or for having a simplistic view of modern-day cloak and dagger activities.

While it is true that Red Sparrow is not a genre-defining work, it is a good film with decent acting, what we have come to know as typical late summer fare.

8/10

mark.rieder@whakatanebeacon.co.nz

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