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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M pitcher Ryan Prager (18) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Kentucky at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 17, 2024. Prager went for 6.2 innings, allowing two hits and zero runs. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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“Red Sparrow”: an action movie with no action

Jennifer+Lawrence+stars+in+the+new+movie+Red+Sparrow%2C+a+thriller+directed+by+Francis+Lawrence.
Photo by Creative Commons

Jennifer Lawrence stars in the new movie Red Sparrow, a thriller directed by Francis Lawrence.

I was expecting more from “Red Sparrow,” a Jennifer Lawrence spy film that appeared exciting in the trailers. The film left me a little disappointed.
“Red Sparrow” is a spy thriller with one major peculiarity: it tried to replace violence with sex. The film didn’t rely on the shock value of extreme violence to tell its story, but instead focused on sex as the main mechanism of power. Any scenes of violence or death were almost always accompanied by nudity, and power seemed to revolve around the ability to give or demand sex.
Although that may sound like an interesting idea, all it amounted to was a movie full of people getting naked on screen and demanding that others do the same. While another film would’ve had some kind of martial arts or weapons training, “Sparrow School” consisted almost entirely of “Matron,” the instructor, commanding Jennifer Lawrence and the rest of the students to take off their clothes and seduce each other. I cringed out of embarrassment for Lawrence and her fellow Sparrows more than actual shock at their actions or ruthlessness.
The later parts of the movie did get a little better as the plot picked up speed. In fact, the plot had a few great twists, and was just complicated enough to make it enjoyable. The Russian versus American espionage aspects of the film were good to see, even if the film was lacking in traditional violence. A particularly tense scene involving a data disk swap comes to mind, and a dramatic prisoner trade near the end of the film reminded me of “Bridge of Spies” and other spy films, despite the fact that Sparrow fell short of most of them. The plot started off slowly, but had me at least intrigued by the end of the movie.
Beyond the plot, however, the movie didn’t have a lot going for it. Jennifer Lawrence, as well as she’s done in so many other movies like “The Hunger Games,” and “Silver Linings Playbook,” did not play the ruthless Russian spy character very well. I might even go so far as to say she was miscast for the role. Her Russian accent was fine throughout, she just wasn’t believable as a woman just trying to survive and keep some shred of dignity intact. The supporting cast all delivered fine performances, most notably Joel Edgerton as Lawrence’s American spy counterpart.
“Red Sparrow” tried to be an action movie with no real action. The decision to feature sex instead of violence as the film’s power mechanism was interesting from a creative perspective, but as a viewer, it didn’t really work. The film wasn’t totally without merits, and as I said, the espionage-based plot was actually pretty good. But there are similar movies with better plots that also have a more compelling lead, and some real action. If you want to see a spy thriller with a female lead and a great plot, do yourself a favor and go watch “Atomic Blonde” instead.

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