Directed by Francis Lawrence
A Russian spy uses sex as a weapon.
The new Jennifer Lawrence spy thriller is “not as seductive as it thinks it is,” said Benjamin Lee in TheGuardian.com. Though the film “has a shocking willingness to go to the very edge of what’s acceptable in a studio movie”—showing full-frontal nudity and graphic images of torture and rape—it’s seriously uneven in tone and unable to create any heat between its leads despite Lawrence’s “movie-star magnetism.” The 2013 Oscar winner plays Dominika, a former ballerina who’s forced to become a spy specializing in the art of seduction. Unfortunately, the initially promising story “tangles into a confusing clump,” said Tomris Laffly in Time Out New York. Though we’re supposed to be riveted by Dominika’s romantic liaison with a CIA operative, the most striking feature of this “excessively long” film is the way it rains physical abuse on Lawrence. Some of those scenes are “almost impossible to sit through,” said Anne Cohen in Refinery29.com. But Red Sparrow, at its core, is “about a woman’s emancipation from the various men who control her.” It just asks that we first acknowledge the suffering she—and so many other women—must endure before prevailing.