Red SparrowCast: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Ciaran Hinds, Jeremy Irons, Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker, Matthias Schoenaerts, Kristof Konrad, Nicole O'neill, Joely Richardson, Sergei Polunin, Thekla Reuten, Douglas Hodge, Sasha Frolova, Sakina JaffreyDirector: Francis LawrenceRating:
When The Bolshoi's Prima ballerina Dominika Egorova(Jennifer Lawrence) suffers an injury during a performance, her dreams and ambitions come to naught. She has an ailing mother to take care of and her uncle(Matthias Schoenaerts) who has had his beady eye on her all along, sees an opportunity to jump in and get her to join Sparrow school, a secret intelligence service that trains exceptional young people to use their minds and bodies as weapons. Egorova emerges as the most dangerous and this film basically chronicles her exploits thereof.
The breath-taking opening sequence leading to the exquisite ballet performance and subsequent accident, playing parallel with the exploits of a CIA agent Nate (Joel Edgerton) shooting prematurely to ensure the escape of a valuable mole, is indeed fantastic. But thereafter Justin Haythe and Eric Singer's screenplay adapted from the book by former CIA operative Jason Matthews, gets caught up in cold-war mechanics even while showcasing 'Red Sparrow' as a rather showy, modern espionage flick. Considering that the film reunites Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence with her 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Mockingjay' director Francis Lawrence, this was to be expected, I guess.
Jason Mathews' novel was indeed rich and thrilling, every page a testament of intrigue and mystique but Lawrence's cinematic version is powered largely by show-stopping elements and barely any cutting-edge tension or risible excitement to go with it. The political and sexual implications of the story set in the era of Soviet-American confrontation, don't really come through as strongly as in the book. Most of it is skimmed under the gloss and shine of a revenge drama that pits a young woman and her wits against that of a powerful state that appears to hold all the cards.
It's to Jennifer Lawrence's advantage that she has yet another opportunity to further perfect her tough and vulnerable routine that has found universal acceptance through 'The Hunger Games' franchise. Even stalwarts like Charlotte Rampling and Jeremy Irons fail to get their accents perfected here. Jennifer Lawrence though, is both lethally blonde and rapier sharp in her act. It's her performance alone that keeps you enthralled here!
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