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| 18 April 2018 | Reply

Directed by Francis Lawrence
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Jeremy Irons
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
8 ½ /10

Red Sparrow, starring Jennifer Lawrence, has more than a few echoes of Nikita, and enough difference to allow it to stand on its own two feet.

Dominique is the star of the Bolshoi ballet until an onstage accident ends her career and leaves her unable to care for her ailing mother. Enter Uncle Ivan (Matthias Schoenaerts), who offers her a way out, starting with evidence that her accident was not accidental, and soon has evidence on her that ensures she must obey him.

She is sent to a training camp where the students are dehumanised, taught seduction techniques and sexualised, their bodies now owned by the state. No excuse for titillation, there is a perverse voyeuristic quality found in watching Dominique and her classmates taught seduction at “whore school” and in later graphic torture sequences (mercifully short, powerful and not lingered on unduly) with Jeremy Irons’ General Korchnoi. Interestingly, this voyeurism is not present in the movie’s sex scenes, which are perfunctory, torrid little quickies.

Meanwhile, CIA agent Nash (Joel Edgerton) is returning to the Eastern Bloc after being forced to leave Russia, abandoning his high ranking double agent.

The two are on a collision course, and Dominique, seemingly, has no escape from an inevitably bloody fate after she is ordered to seduce Nash – who thinks he is actually seducing her.

Lawrence is fantastic as Dominique, and virtually carries the movie alone, while Francis Lawrence brings the canny direction tricks he learnt making music videos and the Hunger Games films, and creates a gripping and taut thriller that leaves you guessing right to the very clever end.


Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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