|Directed by||:||Francis Lawrence||Produced by||:||Peter Chernin, Steve Zaillian||Screenplay by||:||Justin Haythe||Based on||:||Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews||Starring||:||Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling||Music by||:||James Newton Howard||Cinematography||:||Jo Willems|
There’s a Mary-Louise Parker Short Film Inside the New Jennifer Lawrence Movie
Right in the middle of Red Sparrow’s psychosexual insanity exists a phenomenal short film that I have titled “Mary-Louise Parker Doesn’t Really Give a Shit About Your Little Spy Movie, Jennifer Lawrence” (alternatively: “Drinking Out Loud with Mary-Louise Parker” or even “Mary-Louise Parker Fucking Rules,” followed by more exclamation points than AP style allows). In a single scene that lasts for approximately ten minutes, MLP drunkenly hobbles away with JLaw’s entire movie.
Here are the basics (spoilers, duh): Parker plays Stephanie Boucher, the chief of staff for an American senator. Power, control, blabbity blah — all that matters here that Boucher has a lot of secrets, and she’s not going to sell them to the Russian government before having a few drinks. When another Russian sparrow (Marta, played by Thekla Reuten) is unavailable, Jennifer Lawrence’s sex-spy Dominika steps in to handle a pending transaction with Stephanie, who’s Marta’s asset. She meets Stephanie in an oppressively bright hotel bar. Two important things happen here: Stephanie is wearing sunglasses indoors for a few beats too long, and she approaches the bar muttering simply, “Vodka.” With one word, we know everything about her: She’s not here to play around — and sure, because who goes to hotel bars during the daytime to make good decisions?
Dominika and Stephanie go upstairs to make the exchange: a duffel bag of cash for a handful of floppy disks with American secrets. A henchman oversees the swap, and Dominika excuses herself to another room to confirm the authenticity of Stephanie’s files (though as a Russian spy turned American spy, she’s actually swapping Stephanie’s floppy disks for dummy disks). With JLaw out of the room, we’re free to notice that Stephanie is incredibly and hilariously … shit-faced. More drunk than a freshman during orientation weekend or Emma Thompson at the Golden Globes, Stephanie drunkenly rambles about Russia, paying for her kid’s college tuition, and the butt-faced Russian bad guy. It’s a cinematic chef’s kiss.