It’s far too easy for a film, in hoping to represent women positively, to posit the female lead as some manner of violent killer or assassin as short-hand for empowerment. Since the success of Wonder Woman and Mad Max: Fury Road there seems to be an influx of female-led films that, in attempting to ape the success of the aforementioned, present the feminine role as not being dissimilar to a more typically masculine one. To simply adjust gender dynamics in such a way, as other films are seemingly doing, is simply lazy and heavy-handed. The success of Wonder Woman and Mad Max: Fury Road as regards female representation was not to simply place a female lead in a male role, nor was it through presenting the woman as hypersexualised and therefore adept at seduction and in turn, capable of manipulation. Red Sparrow, directed by Francis Lawrence and starring Jennifer Lawrence, seems to rather unsubtly fall into that trap.
Lawrence plays a Russian spy who, in falling for a CIA agent, is forced to question her loyalties. Rather unfortunately, the role seems to largely focus on aesthetics, with Lawrence featured in a number of outfits that rather obviously pander to the male gaze. The narrative, based on a book of the same name, appears to offer little in the way of progression or originality through its presentation in the trailer. Of course, this may be due to marketing, rather than the narrative of the film itself, but thus far Red Sparrow looks set to merely join the roster of a myriad of similarly tired films.