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Movie Review: Red Sparrow

March 3, 2018


Photo by: Vanity Fair

Starring Jennifer Lawrence as Dominika Egorova and Joel Edgerton as Nate Nash, Red Sparrow should have been an excellent thriller movie. Instead, it seemed more like a porno and a promotion of abuse.

The movie begins with Dominika as a renowned Russian ballerina. Dominika’s passion and talent for dancing have made her stand out among her peers; therefore, they have become jealous of her receiving all the lead roles.

During a performance, her dance partner accidentally lands on her leg, shattering it into a million pieces. Dominika’s career as a ballerina is now over. Depressed, Dominika has no idea how she will take care of her sick mother, until her uncle pays her a visit. Her uncle says he can help them keep their apartment while giving Dominika a job.

Sounds good so far, right?

From this point on, there will be spoilers!

So, it is at this point in the movie that the viewer learns that the accidental leg crushing was planned. Dominika’s uncle works for the Russian government as secret intelligence. He plays a recording of ballerinas conspiring to end Dominika’s career. Enraged, Dominika beats the individuals to a bloody pulp.

Her uncle then asks for her help in retrieving information from a Russian man. It was at this point in the movie that I became extremely confused, as there were too many story lines to follow.

While on a mission for her uncle, the man she is supposed to meet begins to rape her. This was the first of many forced, sexual encounters that Dominika would have throughout the film. While being raped, a member of the Russian secret intelligence breaks into the hotel room and murders him before promptly whisking Dominika away to a special school where she would be trained as a Sparrow.

While at this training school, all cadets are subjected to cruel and unusual lessons. The cadets were often forced to strip in front of their peers, have sex with members of the military and watch pornography.

While all of this is going on, Nate is working for the CIA, but it was very unclear how the two stories would be connected. Actually, I was never able to figure out how or why they were connected. Nate was trying to reestablish contact with a Russian mole, and Dominika just wanted to take care of her sick mother. That was all I could gather from the movie.

Dominika begins to seduce men in order to achieve what she wants. The whole idea of the only way Dominika could further her career was through sex was utterly disgusting.

Dominika suffers several rapes; several times she is forced to undress in front of her peers/colleagues. She received severe beatings if she did not do as she was told.

Dominika eventually begins working for the United States with Nate. It was unclear why they began working together and why they both seemed to just accept each other so willingly. Perhaps it was the fact that they had a lot of sex.

Before you know it, Nate and Dominika seem to be in some form of a relationship. The Russians discover this, and begin to torture Nate in front of Dominika to see how she would react.

If you have a weak stomach, I would not read the rest of this review!

The man sent to torture Nate begins to explain that he has a skin grafting machine that is used in hospitals on burn victims. He then explains that they will use this machine to rip the skin off of Nate’s body while he is awake, and if he passes out from the pain, they will use a stimulant to wake him up so that he will be able to feel all of their torture.

They begin with running the skin grafting machine along his neck and up into his skull. Nate is screaming in pain as Dominika just stands there and watches. At her request, they make the skin graft dig even deeper into his body. Each time they finished a section, they would lift the skin up so he could see what was removed.

Eventually, Dominika asks for the skin grafting device, and she begins to peel away a section of his skin. Then, Dominika attacks the Russian, and kills him with a knife. I could literally feel the vomit creep up my throat and into my mouth.

It was during that scene that I considered getting up and walking out of the film.

After this scene, the movie lost me completely. I could not stand to look at the characters, and I was just hoping the movie would end.

Eventually, my wish was granted. Dominika somehow manages to get her uncle killed, and saves the American, Nate.

So, overall would I recommend this movie? Absolutely not. Jennifer Lawrence’s acting was phenomenal, despite the horrible subject content, but even good acting could not save the atrocities that I witnessed in Red Sparrow.

If you like to watch torture, then go ahead and see the movie. Otherwise, I’d try to find another movie to spend your money on.


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