Jennifer Lawrence is a fantastic actress.
She already has four Oscar nominations and one win under her belt and she’s only 27.
She’s been the head of a revolution, a successful inventor, a mentally unbalanced dance fan, a mutant and a woman woken up 90 years too early on a spaceship.
But she’s never played a Russian spy – until now.
Red Sparrow casts Lawrence as former ballerina Dominika Egorova, who must find a new way to be of use to the state after suffering a career-ending injury on stage.
She is recruited to a secret intelligence agency, the Red Sparrows, where she is taught to extract information from enemies through the art of seduction.
Her first mission is to find the name of a mole high up in the Russian government by gaining the trust of his CIA contact.
Enter Aussie Joel Edgerton (Warrior) as G-Man Nate Nash, desperate to protect his mole.
Like last year’s Atomic Blonde, Red Sparrow takes you back and forth with its main character’s allegiances.
It’s never quite clear where her loyalties lie or what motivation is driving her at any one moment.
The cast is filled out with a variety of decent supporting actors, including Jeremy Irons (Batman vs Superman), Joely Richardson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Matthias Schoenaerts (The Drop), Mary-Louise Parker (Red) and Bill Camp (Molly’s Game).
While it’s great to see Lawrence and Edgerton together, there’s something about the film that just falls flat.
It’s got plenty of pretty graphic violence and nifty espionage tricks, but it is a film almost completely devoid of fun. Thankfully, Parker’s character adds a much-needed breath of levity, however brief it is.
People who are squeamish about violence will find themselves spending most of the film peeking from behind their fingers as characters are tortured, killed and invariably hurt.
While Red Sparrow isn’t terrible, it’s just disappointing to see such great acting talent wasted on mediocre material.
If you’re looking for a cool, stylish Russian-themed espionage flick, check out Atomic Blonde.