Stylish thriller but lacks substance | Daily News
Red Sparrow

Stylish thriller but lacks substance

Those who might be tired of waiting for Marvel’s latest blockbuster ‘Black Widow’ to hit cinema screens can have a taste of something similar in the form of Hollywood starlet Jennifer Lawrence as Dominika Egorov. ‘The Hunger Games’ trilogy and ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ star takes on another physically and emotionally challenging role in Francis Lawrence’s ‘Red Sparrow’.

She gives life to the fiery Dominika who has to bid adieu to her career as a prima ballerina when her leg snaps loudly during a performance. Though the event was recognized as an accident her devious uncle, Ivan reveals that it was a deliberate act. He soon lures her into Sparrow School, a secret intelligence service that trains exceptional young people like her to use their bodies and minds as weapons.

True to her uncle’s beliefs Dominika learns the art and excels in her new found profession. She is sent off on a mission to find out the mole in the Russian service is who is feeding their information to the US during an era when another cold war has gripped the two nations.

The film is based on Jason Mathews’ book of the same name. Since it revolves around about spies and espionage, viewers expect a lot more action and chases to be part and parcel of the project. Instead the plot is complex and hard to digest. Though Lawrence does a marvelous job by getting into the shoes of a character that is truly alien to her, the role is not on par with spy characters such as the one Angelina Jolie played in ‘Salt’.

Joel Edgerton as the CIA man who had to flee Russia after he was nearly caught meeting a high-level Russian intelligence officer feeding the Americans secrets, slips into his role effortlessly. His onscreen chemistry with Lawrence is palpable.

Apart from the duo, the incredible cast that supports them includes Mary-Louise Parker as Stephanie Boucher, the American traitor, Jeremy Irons as General Korchnoi and Ciaran Hinds as Colonel Zyuganor, Charlotte Rampling as the Matron of the secret school and Matthias Schoenaerts as Dominika's shrewd and manipulative Uncle Ivan Egorov. They are all secondary characters, yet they all excel.

The actions too seem overly brutal with a lot of blood shed. You also get a lot of scenes which are suitable for an adult audience.