Red Sparrow could best be described as Atomic Blonde meets The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (the Fincher version). It’s an unapologetic espionage thriller that trades in sex and violence, but has very little in the way of real action scenes. That said, the film has enough twists and turns to keep most viewers entertained from start to finish. Plus, the presence of Jennifer Lawrence alone helps distract from the fact that Red Sparrow isn’t quite the prestige Russian spy thriller it so desperately wants to be.
The film begins by introducing us to Dominika Egorova (Lawrence), a prima ballerina with the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, Russia. After sustaining a career ending injury and with no way of paying her rent, let alone her ailing mother’s (Joely Richardson) medical bills, Egorova is persuaded by her uncle (Matthias Schoenaerts) to join the ‘Sparrow School’, a program that trains young Russians spy to become master of seduction. It doesn’t take long for Dominika to realize that the only way to survive is to do anything and everything asked of her.