Have you ever wondered what happens to ballerinas who have their legs shattered worse than a hit by Lawrence Taylor? Well Red Sparrow is the movie for you. The basic plot is that Jennifer Lawrence is a Russian ballerina who suffers a horrible injury and is forced into a spy program by her uncle. Joel Edgerton plays a CIA operative who is in contact with a Russian mole. That is really all you need to know going into the movie. I can tell you that it is a very deliberate slow burn with its nearly two and a half hour run time. The payoff is worth it and there are enough moments sprinkled throughout that kept my attention. The violence is particularly brutal and they shy away from nothing to the point even I cringed at a torture scene.
When I left the theater it occurred to me that this is one of the first movies since the Netflix boom that I actually wanted more out of. It was very long, but I think there was so much more to mine out of the story. I would never want to watch a three hour version of Red Sparrow but I can’t help but be intrigued with the idea of a 10 episode Netflix or HBO series. As I said earlier, the movie is a very slow burn, but even at two and a half hours we have to get through her injury, entry into the Sparrow program, her training… and that is just the first hour.
I believe there was enough character work, plot, and payoff for that to be 3-4 episodes. Then she gets her mission which was filled with several side plots and characters that served their purpose, but definitely would have made for some greater tension if strung along a few episodes. Of course this is just Jennifer Lawrence’s portion. There is also the CIA angle that has its fair share of moments I wouldn’t have minded fleshed out. Then we spend some time on botched missions, betrayal, and the payoff in the final episodes. I really think there was enough story here to warrant a series.
Any real deep dive into the plot of this movie would give away the twists and turns which, unlike most movies today, were actually earned. I’d give the movie an overall solid B grade mostly due to the fact that it tied every thing up in the end in a very satisfying manner.
To sum it up, I’d say that Red Sparrow is a decent movie, but it would’ve been a great series.
Written by: Dan Moran