|Directed by||:||Francis Lawrence||Produced by||:||Peter Chernin, Steve Zaillian||Screenplay by||:||Justin Haythe||Based on||:||Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews||Starring||:||Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling||Music by||:||James Newton Howard||Cinematography||:||Jo Willems|
Red Sparrow review – perverse Jennifer Lawrence thriller offers mixed pleasures
What does the world’s highest-paid female actor do when the franchise that took her to the top ends? It turns out the answers include: take home $20m for starring in an unintentionally creepy sci-fi romance; collect an undeserved Razzie nomination for starring in ; and now play a Russian assassin-in-the-making in a darkly sexual espionage thriller. One can certainly question the quality of her post-Hunger Games projects, but it’s hard to fault the ambition behind Jennifer Lawrence’s decision-making process.
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Based on a bestselling novel by former CIA operative Jason Matthews, Red Sparrow sees Lawrence star as Dominika, a ballerina dancing at the Bolshoi, using her position to take care of her ailing mother. But when an accident leaves her seriously injured, she finds her world in disarray, unable to dance and unable to provide financial support. Her uncle Vanya (Matthias Schoenaerts) has a solution: if she helps him out with a small job, then he can help her back. Yet things don’t go quite as she imagined and she becomes witness to a brutal murder. Rather than have her killed, Vanya sends her to a school for sparrows, young usually ex-military trainees who are taught to use their skills of seduction to get what they want from the enemy (classes include lock-picking and watching S&M pornography). After she shows an unusual defiance, she’s extracted and sent out on her first mission: to seduce and gather information from an American agent (Joel Edgerton). But can she be trusted?