Movie Review – Red Sparrow (20th Century Fox)

Introducing The Vulnerable Red Sparrow

Hello Readers! Did you miss me? I certainly missed you. 2016 to 2017 was a real roller coaster! Three months into 2018, or as it’s being called, the Year of The Woman, has been amazing for entertainment too.  We have a great line up of movies with strong female characters and leads. Black Panther is having a stellar month, and A Wrinkle in Time is out this week at my local theatre. The movie that I chose to see in between is Red Sparrow. Seeing the trailer, I was intrigued. The social media buzz proclaimed it as the “Black Widow movie that the MCU needs to make.” Walking into my local cinema with a clear mind, I got my snacks and sat back for the ride.

Red Sparrow
Red Sparrow

And boy, what a ride it was! First, this is a psychological thriller, so there are some triggers. Do keep in mind that this is a movie about Dominika Egorova, forced by the state to become a sparrow (an elite seductress), and ordered to infiltrate US intelligence. They, in turn, sought to recruit her for their purposes. As the chaos threatens to wash over Dominika, her character not only developed under the pressure but evolved, like a polished diamond. She maintained an impressive level of agency throughout the film. This is a trait that you don’t see often enough in female leads

We are part of a society that is in conflict with feminism. Some may also view the actions of Dominika and her colleagues as a step back for how women are viewed. However, the use of her sexuality and beauty to accomplish her ultimate mission was just as empowering as using brute and logical power. 

Is Red Sparrow Anything Like Black Widow?

I want to address this because I feel like a lot of people might go into this expecting to see a Natasha Romanov clone. Or to be fair, they expect it to be the inspiration for a possible stand-alone Black Widow film.  Squash that expectation right now. It is unfair to put that pressure on an unrelated film project. However that aside, let’s take a look at the character stories. I don’t know much about Black Widow except is she is on a completely different level from Dominika Egorova. While both are trained to be elite Russian spies, Black Widow seems to be represented as the tough well-oiled killing machine.

Dominika, as a sparrow, is trained in the art of seduction and has to tap into her vulnerability on cue, something that I am not personally sure Natasha has had to do, at least not to the extent of the Red Sparrow. I would more see Dominika as the on-screen equivalent of Phedre no Delaunay, the main heroine of the first Kushiel’s Trilogy by Jacqueline Carey. Phedre, child of a courtesan, is born with a special gift to withstand pain. Combined with her beauty and training, she becomes a spy for her adopted father on behalf of the crown. Given that Red Sparrow is a book as well, maybe its success will finally give us the Terre D’Ange we deserve? We are rooting for you, Jacqueline!

Overall, I give Red Sparrow a solid 5 Stars across the board. It was an amazing psychological thriller that left me feeling pleased, and a bit vindicated. Please share your personal reviews in the comments, we want to hear it all! 

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About the author

Renee Jarvis

Raised in the Caribbean with a love for the arts and believes strongly that a smile, kind words, and a hug can go a long way. She currently resides in Lower Westchester and is a junior cosplayer focused on anime and video games.

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