Rating: R, Time: 2hr 19min, Director: Francis Lawrence, Cast on IMDb
What did you think of the portrayal of espionage?
This was interesting. I thought it was going to be kind of the glamorization of the Bond girls like in those movies, but we encounter a very gritty tale of learning about sexual abuse, porn study and self degradation as part of the school. I was a bit taken about from this aspect as you think it will be glamorous (which it obviously is not), so you feel a deep sympathy for the Red Sparrow played by Jennifer Lawrence. In a way, it shows how the US is being swallowed by dipping into torture during the Iraq war.
How do you think the torture scenes reflect on the US or Russia?
Well, there are several disturbing scenes of torture. You really get the sense that there is no freedom in Russia if you aspire to have the nicer things in life: good doctors for your mother, a nice apartment in Russia and living "well". The price is very high, but in the end there is very limited choice of how to survive. I think these scenes give a serious weighting to the film vs. your typical fight scenes or chase scenes seen in typical spy movies. There is a great line in the movie of a high ranking FSB (prodecessor to KGB) saying that he never realized until recently that he had always lived in a prison in Russia. Another commentary is that after the US was exposed for using torture during the Iraq war, our reputation as the land of liberty kind of went out the window. The movie in a way is exposing US and Russia deep use of torture.
What was the creepiest part?
I think one of the best parts was the creepy uncle of Dominika, who actually comes to her to recruit her to be a Red Sparrow. He basically is preying upon her weakness of having now facing a ruined dancing career and accusal of murder. She is completely in his debt and he maximizes it with her being thrown to the wolves of the Red Sparrow school and later a field agent against the US CIA. Dominika later finds that he is in charge of her getting tortured to prove her loyalty to mother Russia.
Besides the great character, they cast him as a young Putin look-alike. Seeing how Putin rose from the ashes of the USSR KGB to the endless Russian presidency. This is quite a stab at Putin via a movie. Of course, I'm sure Putin really doesn't mind the portrayal as it backs up his strong man masculinity up to the end.
How does this film inspire you in art?
Well, previously I did do a Hunger Games painting, but that is really a kid sci-fi movie. A closer aspect would be Dennis Rodman going to North Korea to try to open up the country via basketball diplomacy. As we remember, back in the 1970s, Nixon was able to open up China to market economy after using ping pong diplomacy, lovingly interpreted in Forrest Gump. In my painting, he is laying his reputation down in the face of starving kids to coddle up to a dictator. Dennis claimed he was not associated with Obama, but they used to play ball together when Obama was a Senator and he went to Bulls games, so I think there is a connection.
Da Worm and Nuke Kid on the Block - 24x48 inches
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