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Red Sparrow

(2 popcorn boxes)

Argh. Two sub-par movies in a row. Of course, after Annihilation, Red Sparrow seems Oscar-worthy.

  The talented and beautiful Jennifer Lawrence is Dominica, a ballet dancer who has been injured, can no longer dance and can no longer care for her ailing mother. Okay, mostly beautiful… she has these long bangs that I just wanted to push out of her eyes… I’m turning into my mother.

  Apparently, the only options open for a former ballet dancer is to become a spy. And so, her uncle, a high-ranking intelligence officer (Mathias Schoenaerts) sends her to spy school. To be more accurate, State School 4 – where they teach the operatives to seduce information out of their target.

  Red Sparrow is trying very hard to be a modern take on the old “spy noir” genre. But the modernization mostly consists of nudity and violence that wouldn’t exist in a 1950s film. Today, the thought of using sex to gain information just doesn’t seem as shocking as it once did. This basic flaw in developing the plot makes the entire film fail.

  Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton) is the American agent that is trying to recruit Dominica at the same time she is trying to get him to reveal the name of a Russian mole feeding him intel. Dominica is the worst spy ever. The plot can’t move along for 10 minutes without her revealing a secret to someone – there are many characters that muddy the proceedings – and these are important secrets!

  Director Francis Lawrence (mostly known for The Hunger Games movies) sets a ridiculous slow pace, trying to cleverly unravel plot twists that are obvious, before Dominca blurts out another secret. Perhaps the twist is that there are no secrets? Now that would be clever.

  Only two boxes out of five for Red Sparrow. The final twist was admittedly slick, although not at all a surprise, and both Lawrence and Edgerton are excellent actors, but they couldn’t make much out of this tired old spy story. The film is rated R for nudity, sexual situations, language, violence – all the good stuff – but at 139 minutes it is just too much. Poor writing and poor editing, it all adds up to a poor rating. If you want a good modern thriller, I suggest you check out Salt starring Angelina Jolie.

  Check this week’s issue of the Frankenmuth News for a complete listing of shows and times.



    Joel Edgerton is hardly recognizable in this Netflix movie, but still a very interesting character.



  I had to look up the name Tessa Thompson because she stood out in Annihilation. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the bookish crew member was also super exciting in this “marvelous” 2017 film. Thor Ragnarok.


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