Jenifer Lawrence is applauded for her ability to immerse herself into characters from all different genres — from comedies to action to thrillers — since her breakout role in X-Men: First Class. My captivation of her strong, empowering presence, in roles such as Katniss in Hunger Games has placed her on my radar when she is starring in a new movie.
Seeing Lawrence’s face revealed during a preview at the movie theater sparked my excitement and anticipation for the premiere of Red Sparrow. The trailer captured my attention and I eagerly counted down the days until the release of the film. While I have no regrets seeing the movie, it was very different from my expectations.
Initially, my impression, from what I was exposed to in the trailer, was that Lawrence would be playing a character similar to her past roles; a fierce, tenacious woman capable of outwitting and conquering any man who crosses her. While some of these qualities hold true for Lawrence’s leading character, Dominika Egorova, the film highlighted her ability to manipulate her targets with their darkest sexual desires and bring them to their knees. She is taught to use her mind and body as a weapon in a sadistic training program at Sparrow School. She emerges from the institution as a more dangerous threat than any soldier or agent. It’s shocking to watch how explicitly and harshly she is reduced to an object, hardly the owner of her mind or body.
The actual plot of the movie was puzzling. I enjoyed parts of it, albeit while confused, engaged mainly with Dominika’s captivating beauty, mesmerizing accent, and the hope that something shocking and dramatic would occur. Unfortunately, that hope fell through — it was never met with action. The movie lacked the climaxes that I was searching for as I waited patiently for something to put me on the edge of my seat. It never happened. At the end, I finally found that I was able to piece together the plot. Despite finding myself lost throughout the duration of the film, the closing scene of the film drew everything together in a big “ah ha!” moment. The dots were connected and a larger picture was painted. So there’s that.
Contrary to the majority of movies that conclude with happy endings or uplifting messages, the driving theme of this film was largely revenge. As Dominika constantly seemed to be double-crossing both the Russians and Americans, it was hard to decipher which side she was really working for. However, by the end, I realized that her allegiance was not to either country. She did everything to make her uncle, the person who forced her into the lifestyle, pay for all that he had done. In doing this, she, in a sense, took back control of her mind and body, which allowed me to leave with a small sense of closure.