The espionage thriller is one of the most popular subgenres in Hollywood, primarily because it can be remolded and retold in a thousand different ways, with each one capable of slapping a fresh coat of paint on tropes and trappings we’ve all seen a thousand times before.
However, one of the prerequisites is that there should be some genuine thrills along the way, something that got lost in translation when Red Sparrow flew into theaters in March 2018. A 45% Rotten Tomatoes score and 49% user rating is tepid at best, even though the ensemble boasted a cavalcade of top-tier talent.
Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence took top billing as a former ballerina trained in the way of secret intelligence, with support coming from fellow Oscar winner Jeremy Irons, nominee Charlotte Rampling, two-time Golden Globe victor Mary-Louise Parker, Ciarán Hinds, Joely Richardson, and Joel Edgerton.
The latter is a CIA agent trying desperately to convince the femme fatale that he’s the only one she can trust, but you’ll probably lose interest pretty quickly given how formulaic the entire operation is, despite the best efforts of the reliable Lawrence in the lead.
That being said, Red Sparrow has managed to reach the iTunes most-watched list in multiple countries around the world per FlixPatrol, so viewers evidently have too much time on their hands if they’re willing to slog their way through the unnecessary 140-minute running time.