“Red Sparrow”: extremely violent and shocking

Jennifer Lawrence in "Red Sparrow." Photo by Murray Close/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Red Sparrow is a new controversial spy thriller which has taken the internet by storm. Jennifer Lawrence stars as Dominika Egorova, a Russian ballerina who has a terrible dancing accident and finds herself consequently struggling to look after her mother. She then finds herself at a spy school which trains “sparrows” to become secret agents who use seduction as a weapon to extract information.

The movie is extremely violent and shocking at every point. Dominika is beaten and sexually humiliated, causing many critics to question the expletive nature of the movie.

That being said, the movie does not entirely glamorize the spy life but instead demonstrates Dominika’s fierce battle to hold onto her humanity in the vicious world she has found herself in. The movie is stressful and emotive as well as distressing and violent. Dominika is meant to feel like a real person who is suffering, not to be the dehumanized sex object that the school is trying to turn her into.

Overall, the role is not Jenifer Lawrence’s best, but the film is still somewhat enjoyable, albeit quite dark and uncomfortable. Jenifer advised audiences on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert not to put any political weight on the film, but to remember it was made to entertain. Perhaps separating the movie from current social issues is, therefore, the best way to objectively evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of this movie and enjoy it for what it is – a shocking and violent psychological spy thriller.