Red Sparrow Reviewed By Andy Box

The Premise
A young Russian intelligence officer is assigned to seduce a first-tour CIA agent who handles the CIA's most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young officers collide in a charged atmosphere of trade-craft, deception, and inevitably forbidden passion that threatens not just their lives but the lives of others as well.
The Review
Jen soars in spy thriller

You have to admire Jennifer Lawrence (Joy, The Hunger games, Silver Linings Playbook) for her willingness to take on diverse roles with such verve and devotion.

In this cat and mouse encounter Jen portrays Dominika, a Bolshoi dancer who is manipulated into the Sparrow program as a result of a sabotaged career and a sick mother. Apart from the accent, Jen is engaging as a Russian spy torn between her country, her uncle and a moral compass that is reflective of her maternal upbringing.

The action is pacy and so you will have to keep up. We are moved quickly from sparrow school to the first mission and then on to Budapest where Lawrence is joined on screen by the underated and highly watchable Joel Edgerton (Warrior) who plays American agency man Nate Nash.  

Their meeting and subsequent interactions are what drive this movie forward and it is a shame that Francis Lawrence (Director) did not have more time to develop certain characters and plot elements in a film that may well be the beginning of a franchise.

Jeremy Irons (Batman v Superman), Matthias Schoenhaerts and Mary Louise Parker (Red, The West Wing) are all excellent in their supporting roles. Irons in particular is devilishly meticulous in his portrayal of General Korchnoi and he just has this knack of pulling you deep into his character.

Without wanting to give the game away there is a subtle and clever end to this graphic cold war adventure and that combined with outstanding set and costume design make it authentic within its genre.
The Verdict
A little bird tells me that this is one for date night.
The Trailer
The Info
Releases: 1st March 2018
Rating: R16 – Contains graphic violence, sexual violence, offensive language, sex scenes & nudity
Duration: 140 minutes
Genre:  Thriller
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Mary-Louise Parker, Joel Edgerton
Director: Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games FIlms)
The Extras
When the project was announced in 2013, Darren Aronofsky was in talks to direct it. Aronofsky dropped out in 2014, and in the same year, David Fincher and Rooney Mara were in talks to direct and star in the film, respectively. In July 2015, it was reported that Francis Lawrence was in talks to direct the film. In September 2015, Jennifer Lawrence was announced in the lead role with Francis Lawrence as the director.
Based on a 2013 novel of the same name by retired CIA operative Jason Matthews. Before the novel was even finished, Matthews sold the film rights for a seven figure sum. The novel is the first book in a trilogy, with the others being Palace of Treason and The Kremlin's Candidate.
Jennifer Lawrence got into a bar fight in Budapest while filming this movie.
Director Francis Lawrence shared his feelings on the comparisons between Red Sparrow and Black Widow from the Marvel comic books, played in the MCU by Scarlett Johansson: "There's people who think it's very similar to the Black Widow story. This is not pulled from Black Widow, this is pulled from Red Sparrow, you know, it's written by a guy who was in the CIA. It's like, his references are coming from a very, very different place from that. But there'll always be that. People like to put things in boxes, and I think it's a really unique film. This is a thriller, it's not action, again it's not gadgetry. It's a hard-R. There's violence, it's a bit perverse, it's suspenseful, a lot of intrigue. It's a different kind of spy film."
This is Francis Lawrence's first film after the Hunger Games franchise, which starred Jennifer Lawrence. They had previously worked together on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (2014) and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015), making this film his fourth consecutive starring her.