Ballerina Dominika Egorova is recruited to “Sparrow School,” a Russian intelligence service where she is forced to use her body as a weapon. Her first mission, targeting a C.I.A. agent, threatens to unravel the security of both nations.
Raw, racy, and containing violence that will cause some to recoil. These are the thoughts I have after reviewing Red Sparrow. Not that Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t give her usual strong performance. She plays Dominika Egorova, who was a prima ballerina in Russia until a terrible accident leaves her unable to ever perform the same way again. She was a dedicated and disciplined dancer. But her uncle sees in her the grit and spit and fire to channel her energies elsewhere; namely, in the Red Sparrow program. Dominika loves her mother passionately and her ill mother will lose her health insurance unless Dominika can help her. And Dominika sees the spy gig, which features the art of seduction, as her only way out. Her uncle’s manipulation doesn’t help. It basically comes down to her using her body as a weapon. Joel Edgerton plays an American CIA operative hoping to turn her into a double agent. Edgerton is quite good in the role. Dominika quickly picks up on what it takes to survive in the world of “spies” and “lies.”
The movie makes it clear that Dominika loves her mother to the point of becoming the hard-nosed spy she becomes, but she is about to embrace a lot of sex and violence as a result of her new path. She eventually accuses her uncle of sending her to “whore school.” It does cause one to ponder how far one would go to help a needy relative. This is a role unlike any Jennifer Lawrence has ever taken on, and it will be interesting to see how the Oscar-winning actress will fare with the public; will her fans accept this different side of the popular actress?
We all know that the spy world is real and sometimes, brutally ugly. But how much of it do we actually want to see? There is plenty of flesh on display in the movie but also plenty of violence, including a man being strangled with a wire which causes his neck to bleed. It isn’t pretty, folks. This one is rated a strong R and doesn’t receive our Dove Seal.