RED SPARROW – 9
In a word: Intrigue
This is a well-done spy thriller starring A-actress, Jennifer Lawrence who, like in Hunger Games, captivates the viewer with non-stop twists and turns, action and international intrigue. Other reviews, as in Rotten Tomatoes, are not as generous as this, but I feel confident in dubbing this one of the better spy thrillers in a long time. Not being a great fan of shoot-em-up films, this picture was an exception. The core attraction is Jennifer Lawrence who is featured in at least 95 percent of the movie scenes, including one in which we see much more of Lawrence than one would expect.
Lawrence plays an injured ballerina from the Russian Bolshoi, who converted to a young intelligence officer assigned to seduce a American CIA agent who handles the most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young officers collide in a charged atmosphere of deception and inevitably, passion that threatens not just their lives but the lives of others.
Her primary motive for getting mired into Russian counter-intel stems from a need to protect her mother from being outcast by the Russian government into a life of squalor and dependency. Lawrence’s character is determined to protect her mother at all costs.
Beware: This is not for children. Not only do we have a few nude scenes, and a smattering of profanity which fits the story, but some of the violence is quite graphic, particularly a couple scenes depicting torture.
The movie begins with six-minutes of Jennifer Lawrence on stage with the Bolshoi Ballet, in costume, and for the most part, splendidly playing the difficult scene. Research reveals that Lawrence was actually coached by the same people who coached Natalie Portman in Black Swan. While there is a double used in parts of this scene, Lawrence is doing much of the dance herself. Her energy and her focus is amazing.
We were glued to the screen the entire 2 hours and 20 minutes. A few shots were in the “implausible” spectrum (to be expected), but it didn’t take away from the story.
If you like action and intrigue, and don’t mind some racy language and extreme violence, you will enjoy Red Sparrow.
For its genre, I give it a 9 out of 10.