Red Sparrow: Dance of Death

Red Sparrow starring Jennifer Lawrence

For all the positive stereotypes (strong, agile, dexterous) that surround dancers, there are many negative ones as well (lack common sense, unintelligent, flighty). I once dated a dancer who specialized in modern dance, and I can tell you that not all dancers fit these categories, especially the negative ones.

Red Sparrow, released this week in the United States, shows the general audience what I learned long ago: don’t underestimate dancers.

Spoilers ahead.



Going into this movie, I knew I was in for an exciting romp of sex and violence. In this, I wasn’t disappointed. Miss Lawrence is joined by Joel Edgerton, as they portray a Russian ballerina beleaguered by a Russian bureaucracy and an American covert operative who cares too much for his assets.


As the story unfolds, we are treated to a rather long exposition, which caught me a little off guard. I did enjoy this, however, as we got a full picture of who the protagonists and antagonists are as individuals, and how they move through the world. As a theater kid (which I will always consider myself to be no matter my age), I loved this. The depth of the characters and understanding their motivations (even if their history wasn’t explored) is a major draw to me.

Throughout the movie, I watched all the twists and turns and forgot I was watching a movie. For those that know me, you know that I consider this to be a huge compliment. Having grown up in the theater, I learned very young to watch and critique. This lesson has been ingrained in me my entire adult life. I’ve managed to silence this somewhat, but it is still there. Because of that, when I can suspend disbelief and forget to critique, I enjoy a movie or performance the most.


For a movie nearly two and a half hours long, I did expect a significant portion of the movie to be devoted to Miss Lawrence’s re-education as a master of seduction and assassination. In this, I was disappointed. The training felt rushed and under-developed. Miss Lawrence’s character was told upon arriving to her “school” that she should not reveal any aspect of her former life to anyone. This set up an interesting scenario during training: an attempt to break the recruit and get her to talk about her past. This, sadly, never happened. In fact, this was never mentioned again. This oversight left the middle of the movie lacking.


As a Marvel fan, I knew going into this movie that there would be similarities to the comic book background of the super hero Black Widow. Indeed, the movie felt like it pulled a lot of aspects from the Marvel mythos. I did rather enjoy, the movie, despite this. Jokingly, this felt like a serious adult version of a Black Widow and Hawkeye movie.

Leaving my bias aside, this is definitely a movie to see, but just know what you are getting yourself into when you go. The sex is used appropriately – it isn’t just there to say “hey look, naked people!”. The torture and violence was equally well placed and fit the story well.

I hope you all enjoy Red Sparrow as much as I did.

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