A “sparrow” is the term for a Mata Hari style secret agent, trained to seduce men in pursuit of secrets. Ballerina Dominika Egorova (played by Jennifer Lawrence) is inducted into this life by her uncle Vanya (I know, I know; the Chekov references could be subtler), a spymaster, when her ballet career is cut short by a serious injury. Trained at spy school by the cynical Matron (Charlotte Rampling) and directed by General Korchnoi (Jeremy Irons), Dominika is soon thrust into the cut and thrust world of espionage.
The movie starts in 1898, depicting the early days of California oil prospecting through the experiences of a Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis). Actually, he initially is a gold miner, but he happens upon the black version instead.