Reviews/Films – “Dreadful Double Agent Actor Accent” – Red Sparrow – Saturday 3rd March

Classified as a contemporary cold war screenplay story starring accomplished actors including Jeremy Irons, Charlotte Rampling, Matthias Schoenaerts & Joel Edgerton, each making this complex yet captivating thriller of a film authentically enticing, in lead Jennifer Lawrence, we found a flawed performance due to her dreadful Russian double agent accent that marred an otherwise masterful motion picture, so why did this clumsy caricature cloud our conclusion and who proved the “Red Sparrow” saving grace?

 

 

When it comes to spy thriller films of novels, the twenty-five strong 007 screenplay’s aside, top of the pile has to go to those adapted from the books of both John Le Carre and Frederick Forsyth, films from the former including recent releases “Our Kind Of Traitor” & “A Most Wanted Man”, with cinematic classics from the latter extending to “The Day Of The Jackal”, “The Odessa File” & (our favourite) “The Fourth Protocol”, each setting out a significant stool come pedestal for motion pictures attempting to follow in their footsteps to either ascend to or at least partially emulate. Yet the broad spectrum that the subject of espionage serves up, means that a mound of movie’s aim their bow & arrow at this bountiful bullseye, some succeeding more than others, many masquerading as such but end up flattering to deceive, often the stumbling block being either an implausible storyline or, equally, appalling character acting, all too often exemplified by awful accents. So, with the latest pretender to the Le Carre & Forsyth pedestal, “Red Sparrow”, under our review microscope, where does it sit in the grand scheme we have set, the sort answer being close but no cigar, due in no part to another example of an appalling accent, on this occasion, delivered with demonstrative effect by the film’s lead actress, Jennifer Lawrence, she of “The Hunger Games” series of screenplays, but also of more recent questionable motion pictures “Mother” & “Passengers” in which she clearly sought to shed her Katniss Everdeen persona. However, in Russian ballerina turned state appointed & supported intelligence double agent, Dominika Egorova, it is the clumsy accent that through & through American actress Lawrence deploys that is the downfall of this film, there in fact some scenes where she is found slipping into her native tongue, one instance so glaring that we were surprised it wasn’t picked up either in filming or editing of the otherwise excellent espionage example that is fortunate in flaunting enough redeeming features to save it from our scathing cutting room floor rubbishing come sweeping.

So, what was & who were the rescuing from Lawrence’s lousy accent redemptions and how did they affect our rating for this jinxed by scripting in Jennifer screenplay? Well, first & foremost are, for us, two towering performances from accomplished English actors Jeremy Irons & Charlotte Rampling, their RADA trained pedigrees shining through significantly, even their Russian accents plausible enough to belie their British roots. Then there were the two other headline leads, Flemish favourite Matthias Schoenaerts who is cleverly convincing in his role as SVR intelligence head, Vanya Egorov (Dominika’s influential uncle), while Australian born actor Joel Egerton is just as convincing as CIA agent, Nathan Nash, both Egerton & Schoenaerts like Irons & Rampling, much more suited to their character castings than the awkwardly picked in our view Lawrence, even the fact that the director of this prominent at the box office motion picture, shares the same surname not doing this film any favour in our books. That said, the settings which shift superbly between Moscow, Budapest, Vienna & London, along wit the complex plot that requires acute attention to follow & figure out at times, also saves this screenplay for significant scourging, although the unabated disturbing & violent scenes that pepper this adapted from the book by Jason Matthews movie, are uncomfortably wincing come toe curling, while given the subject matter and storyline perhaps come with the territory. Then there is the length which, at just short of two & a half hours, is at times laborious and repetitive, but had the screenwriters stuck relatively rigidly to the book & its multiple character narrations, it would have been even longer. However, on the side of “Red Sparrow” is current affairs relevance and one which may see an extended run on the cinema circuit, as, given the hefty headlines dominating the news over the nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury, serves this screenplay well enough for us to forgive that lousy Lawrence accent, rather extol in the many other virtues of this movie. (DISCO MATT)


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About discomatt

The History........................................................Created in 2008 after a short period of blogging under his real name, the pseudonym, “Disco Matt”, was born on the back of a reputation for being London’s original party boy having partied and clubbed across the London gay scene since in mid 1990’s.........................................................Through his series of blogs via individual blogging pages which soon morphed into a full blown website (http://discomatt.com), Disco Matt established himself as an independent journalist come columnist who quickly gained a reputation for supporting & promoting one of the world’s most prolific clubbing scenes. He previewed, reviewed & recommended London gay clubs, as well as the diverse gay/metrosexual London club/bar culture, linking to & reviewing the scene top D.J.’s and generally covering the gay scene including international gay events....................................................Regularly reporting on the top events across the scene, Disco Matt’s reviews, over the years, developed a strong following, not just by clubbers, D.J’s, promoters, music producers & scene faces, but people far and wide that were looking for an insight to the incredible scene that was London. He also previewed upcoming events that signalled, either a major change or update of existing clubs, new ventures on the gAylist/metrosexual scene, or where he considered events that deserved more comprehensive coverage to that provided in other posts.............................................However, having pretty much reached the top of his game in his chosen specific field, due to a number of personal predicaments, challenges & changes in his life priorities, Disco Matt parked his writing and operation in February 2014. While the burning desire to continue remained, what this much needed period of inactivity did provide was the time & space to re-think & re-focus his activities on a broader spectrum of media and entertainment............................................................So, following this long two year lay-off, he built up the foundations for this diversification into the areas of film, theatre, radio & television where his reviewing, recommending & reporting was to be replicated & resurrected, also pointing his promotions through more visuals & video's linked to all these areas along with his core activities and passions ................................................................................The Present....................................After another (shorter) period of lay-off from mid 2016, a life changing event reignited his passion and early into 2017, Disco Matt has delivered on his promise for a new, more modern look to his website, shedding the old & tired skin in favour of something far more in keeping with the times and with his blogging roots. And he has waived a fond farewell to his clubbing days, this having also been ditched from his site & activity, rather now just focussing on the genres of film, theatre, radio, television, video and of course, music, in so doing, aiming to broaden his appeal to a much wider audience interested in the latest most cutting edge areas of media & entertainment.............................................................................His aim is to be highly regarded across the industry for his writing in these fields and ultimately become a full time critic in film &/or theatre.

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