Review Round Up: Red Sparrow

Jennifer Lawrence stars in this new spy thriller directed by Francis Lawrence and based on the 2013 novel by Jason Matthews. But what have critics been making of it? 

The Guardian: ** “The tone is relentlessly bleak, and for all its depraved sexuality the film’s gaze is more drooling teenage boy than genuinely adult or erotic.”

Seven Days: * 1/2 “It is, paradoxically, a movie that does zero to advance the professional standing of Jennifer Lawrence while, at the same time, facilitating a profoundly vital psychological corrective for the Oscar winner.”

Empire: *** “Red Sparrow is surprisingly hard-edged, with uncompromising and unflinching depictions of torture and sexual violence. Its sexual politics are complex and knotty, with several scenes destined to cause controversy.”

BBC: ** “Red Sparrow sounds as if it has a foolproof recipe: sex, spies and Russia. But the only way to make sense of this thudding, clichéd would-be thriller is to think of it as an unintentional comedy. It is loaded with cartoonish Russian accents, borrowings from creaky Cold War movies and painfully unsexy sex, with a dash of excruciating torture thrown in.”

Vanity Fair: ” It’s a funny irony, I suppose, that this movie born of the too-sparsely populated middle range ultimately seems so uncomfortable dwelling between its poles.” “If Red Sparrow is a movie about the things it purports to be about, like the blurred lines around issues of consent in the espionage game, then it’s a misfire at best and horribly exploitative at worst.”

Den of Geek: ** “The film reunited Jennifer Lawrence with the director of the list three The Hunger Games movies, Francis Lawrence, but this isn’t either of them at their peak. It never really gels, and the end result underwhelms. The short bursts of action are good, if gratuitously violent, but the rest of the film struggles to hold the attention.” “The biggest problem with a movie this long and uninvolving is you have nothing to do but grimace at one bum note after another and wonder if the Russians could have devised a better plot. I guess maybe they have.”

The Telegraph: ** “Aside from James Newton Howard’s prowling, Bernard Herrmann-esque score, Hitchcockian showmanship clearly wasn’t on the agenda here”

The Times: * “This clueless, sleazy film about a Russian ballerina who is sent to spy sex school is more of a love letter to Jennifer Lawrence’s buttocks.”

The Independent: *** “Francis Lawrence’s film is hammy and grandiose, and has delusions of geopolitical relevance, but is considerably less awful than I thought it was going to be, and strangely entertaining.”

Red Sparrow is in cinemas now. 


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