Thursday, March 1, 2018

Red Sparrow - A Unique and Dark Movie of a Different Kind of Russian Spy

Yesterday, there were few movies premiering in Indonesian cinemas and 1 of them was this movie. Its trailer had been shown quite a lot of times in the past month and seemed interesting as it hinted some kind of spy story. My wife and I were not really sure at first, where we should see this one. But when I noticed that it was not having Dolby Atmos sound effects, we decided that there was no need to choose a theater with such sound system. Hence we opted to see this in Setiabudi. Well we shall start with the movie now.

Brief Story Line

Dominika (Jennifer Lawrence - Passengers, The Hunger Games series etc) was a professional ballet dancer who was forced to early retirement and had to find other means to support her mother. Her uncle Dmitri (Matthias Schoenaerts - Disorder, The Danish Girl etc) who was a high ranked officer in Russian intelligence, convinced Dominika that the country would be willing to cover her expenses in return for her services. The idea was her to be a unique kind of "spy" with specialty of seducing the target. In order to do so, she would have to undergo a training in the Sparrow school with the head mistress called Matron (Charlotte Rampling - Assassin's Creed, Babylon A.D etc).

Meanwhile a CIA operative named Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton - Loving, The Gift etc) was having an asset in Russia code named Marble. Nate would later on be the target of operation for Russian intelligence who wanted to find out who Marble was. Despite the heavy doubts from Russian general Vladimir (Jeremy Irons - Margin Call, Batman VS Superman: Dawn of Justice etc) and Colonel Zvuganov (CiarĂ¡n Hinds - Steppenwolf in Justice League etc), Dmitri still recommended assigning Dominika to acquire the information from Nate. This would be the start of the whole deceptions by Dominika using all her knowledge and experience in Sparrow school towards Nate who happened to be a very experienced and smart CIA agent. 

So could Dominika find out the info from Nate? Or would it be the other way around? Find them all in this interesting mystery spy thriller drama movie.

End of Brief Story Line

This was a very different and unique kind of spy movie. It was not the conventional James Bond type since the spy here was not taught about the use of cool gadgets, fight skills or even the weapons & explosives use. But it was a rather psychologically advanced type of spy where the Sparrow would use their minds in finding out what the target was looking for in a person and became such. Therefore you should not expect a movie with full of action or fight sequences. This was more like a drama movie focusing on the lead character Dominika who was played truly brilliantly by Jennifer Lawrence. It was so amazing to see her characterization of this person, her transformation from an innocent ballerina to a ruthless, strong-willed, manipulative spy.

The movie's main attraction was the high intensity dramatic moments which all involved Dominika. The way she had to adjust herself into many situations, or her expressions in various conditions even in the most scary times. My wife and I were really amazed by her performance in this movie. Aside from Jennifer Lawrence's factor, the movie was also excellent in providing us few surprising twists. The final twist in the end was really mind blowing. And be sure to really concentrate on the first 10-15 minutes of the movie where you would find out how dark the tone of the movie really was. Plus the background music was also very good as it really added the element of intensity during the suspenseful moments.

This movie had a duration of more than 2 hours which for some audience might be too long for a thriller drama movie. But my wife was able to go through it without even going to the bathroom (that's how intense the whole movie was). Though for me personally, there were some moments in the middle which felt a little bit too slow. Before you decide to see this movie, you have to know that it was categorized for 21 years above in Indonesia (R rating in the US), due to the violent nature of the killing and some sexual content. It was a good thing that a very important scene before Dominika became a sparrow was not cut by Indonesian censorship as otherwise it would be challenging to resonate to her experience. So beware that the movie is really for mature audience and do not bring your children to see this. Btw, there was no mid or post end credit scene in here.

So if you are looking for a different unique kind of spy movie, based on the book written by former CIA operative named Jason Matthews (who would really know his stuff), this would be an interesting option. But if you expect a full action spy movie, then this would surely not be your thing. The choice is yours.

Happy watching!

Mike's movie moments rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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