Red Sparrow

Red Sparrow

Seduce. Deceive. Repeat.


Prima ballerina Dominika Egorova faces a bleak and uncertain future after she suffers an injury that ends her career. She soon turns to 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 Sparrow after completing the sadistic training process. As she comes to terms with her new abilities, Dominika meets a CIA agent who tries to convince her that he is the only person she can trust.

Title Red Sparrow
Director Francis Lawrence
Director of Photography Jo Willems
Runtime 2 h 19 min
Certification R
Release Date 1 March 2018
Tagline Seduce. Deceive. Repeat.
IMDb Id tt2873282

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.

Red Sparrow has a complex plot involving plenty of double (perhaps triple?) dealing as Dominika interacts with CIA agent Nate (Joel Edgerton) against the backdrop of a wintry eastern Europe.  The film does not hold back on the violence, and the numerous torture scenes are quite brutal and vivid, a long way from the glossy fantasy world of the “Hunger Games” where Francis Lawrence first directed a youthful Jennifer Lawrence. This is an altogether more adult role and she throws herself wholeheartedly into it, along with the good supporting cast. The film is more interested in exploring themes of trust and betrayal than in out-and-out spy action, and at times the pace of the film, at an overlong 139 minutes, feels drawn out. Still, the plot has some neat twists and turns, and manages to generally keep the audience guessing as it snakes from Moscow to Vienna and beyond.


Red Sparrow
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