3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Bourne-ish, but more depressing, with more torture, propaganda, and a less charismatic lead.

There’s nothing like brutality to command your attention. This kept me wide awake and glued to the screen for the entire 2 hours. Well, aside from the few seconds I was forced to look away in one particularly gruesome scene (you’ll know what I mean when you see it). It’s not at all a ‘feel good’ movie, that’s for sure. If you’re anything like me, you’ll leave the cinema with a nauseous stomach from the stress!

Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) is a top ballerina with the Bolshoi ballet company in Russia who is recruited by her uncle (Matthias Schoenaerts) to work for Russian intelligence as a special kind of spy, called a “sparrow”.

Even though I think Jennifer Lawrence is a very talented actress, I don’t find her likeable enough to care for her character as I did with e.g. Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. She was able to elicit more sympathy from me than I thought she would in Mother!, again I think due to her remarkable performance, but still I find her difficult to relate to in general.

Schoenaerts is perfectly cast as Dominika’s wily uncle, and reminds me a lot of Vladimir Putin in the role. I think this may have been a tactical move by the filmmakers as it seems like this was a clearly a propaganda piece to heap more hatred onto Russia. I guess Hollywood has been doing this kind of thing for years but it makes the film less appealing when it’s so obvious. The roles are well cast in general, even Ciarán Hinds (Mance Rayder from Game of Thrones) makes an appearance.

Red Sparrow premieres in Sweden on 2 March.

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