Jennifer Lawrence plays Dominika Egorova, a ballerina in modern day Russia. Approached by her secret service uncle to seduce a Russian gangster, he offers to secure future medical treatment for her ailing mother. However when things go wrong and she is witness to a state execution, she is offered an impossible choice – join the secret service or be executed.
'Red Sparrow’ is an intentionally bleak film...'
‘Red Sparrow’ is an intentionally bleak film whose cold, blue hues infect its characters as much as its vistas. Using a clipped colour range, the accents are similarly curt as if to reach for further, heightened sense of realism.
In acting terms, the honours belong to Charlotte Rampling in her ice-cold turn as Dominika’s spy mistress. Where the rest cast seem to be grasping for a callous, slavic authenticity, her performance already has it firmly in her grasp. For whilst Jennifer Lawrence’s Dominika is capably played, her robotic character is in reality a little too frozen to make you really care for her plight. So, it is left to Joel Edgerton’s Nate Nash to provide the warmth. In a landscape of frigid characters his CIA operative provides the movie’s beating heart whilst Lawrence’s titular sparrow spirals and dives in a chorus of desensitising assassinations.
Not realistic enough to appeal to Le Carré fans, nor colourful enough to appeal to spy action enthusiasts, ‘Red Sparrow’ falls between its period detailing and ice cold glares. Where nothing is as convincing as it could have been, nor as suspenseful as it needed to be, this is a spy movie that never really manages to come in from the cold.