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RED SPARROW (2017) – My rating: 8.3/10

Red Sparrow is a Spy thriller directed by Francis Lawrence and written by Justin Haythe, based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Jason Matthews. It tells the story of a Russian intelligence officer who is sent to make contact with a CIA agent in the hope of discovering the identity of a mole. Red Sparrow is a pretty sexy movie that implies, Russians will do anything to achieve their goals.  I thought Red Sparrow was well done.

In modern-day Russia, Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) is a famed Russian ballerina who supports her ill mother. Following a career-ending injury, Dominika is approached by her uncle, Ivan Vladimirovich Egorov (Matthias Schoenaerts), who works in Russian Intelligence. Because of the accident she suffered, Dominika is no longer able to dance and is out of work.  Ivan convinces her to do a job which tasks her with seducing Dimitry Ustinov (Kristof Konrad), a Russian gangster, in exchange for her mother’s continued medical care. As Ustinov rapes her, he is killed by Sergei Matorin (Sebastian Hülk), a Russian operative and torture expert.  Ivan then offers Dominika a choice to begin working for Russian Intelligence, or be executed so there are no witnesses to the murder of Ustinov, which he ordered.

— SPOILERS BELOW —

Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton) is a CIA operative working in Moscow. While meeting with an asset in Gorky Park, they are confronted by the police. Nash creates a diversion to ensure his asset, a mole in Russian ranks, code-named Marble, escapes detection. Nash is reassigned back to the US but insists that he is the only individual whom Marble will work with. Since he cannot return to Russia, he is assigned to Budapest, where he will regain contact with Marble.

Dominika begins training to become a Russian operative, known as a ‘Sparrow’, capable of seducing her targets. Dominika excels in her training, despite some friction with her trainers, and she is assigned to Budapest. Russian SVR has been tracking Nash, hoping to find out the identity of Marble. Dominika’s assignment is to gain the trust of Nash, and reveal his contact.

Upon her arrival in Budapest, Dominika lives with Marta Yelenova (Thekla Reuten), another Sparrow. Her boss in Budapest is Maxim Volontov (Douglas Hodge). Dominika quickly makes contact with Nash, who correctly determines that she is a Russian Intelligence operative. Dominika reveals her true identity to him, as well as her motive to find out Marble’s identity. While Marta is out, Dominika inspects her room, and realizes that she is working to gather information from Stephanie Boucher (Mary Louise-Parker), chief of staff for a US Senator. Dominika also realizes she needs more time, and claims to her uncle that she is helping in Marta’s effort to gather information from Boucher. Upon returning home one day, Dominika finds Marta brutally tortured and murdered. Matorin reveals that he carried out the murder as a warning not to betray Russian secrets.

From this point, there is much more action as well as twist and turns.  Additionally, Jeremy Irons is in the cast and Dominika turns out to be a very clever young lady, capable of taking her new found position to many levels.  The plot thickens and so does the intensity.  There’s violence and explicit sexy scenes that are appropriate to what’s going on in the moment.  Red Sparrow is not suited for children. I mention this because I saw a dad with his young child in the audience.  I wanted to say something but I knew better.  Red Sparrow was brilliantly acted. Jennifer’s Russian accent was a little shaky at times, almost absent, but was convincing enough that it didn’t take away from the film.  I enjoyed the movie and recommend it to adults who would enjoy a pretty good adventurous spy flick.  Check it out!