Viewed – 07 March 2018 Cinema
When Prima Ballerina Dominika (Jennifer Lawrence) injures herself during a performance, she turns to her shady uncle on realising the ballet academy are no longer going to fund her accommodation or the care of her ill mother. So she reluctantly gets enrolled in ‘sparrow’ school where young students are trained to use their minds and bodies as weapons.
Once released from the school she gets her first mission and along the way catches the attention of undercover CIA agent (Joel Edgerton) who see’s potential in her and attempts to get her to cross over to the Americans. Lawrence, initially an unusual casting for a Russian character seems to easily deliver a convincing accent and demeanour, whilst using her ‘impossible’ situation to her advantage. She’s sexy and dangerous and Lawrence nails it in a provocative and daring turn. Edgerton increasingly an actor I enjoy watching is again very good and perfect support, and add to this a decent turn from Jeremy Irons (another long time favourite) and this makes for an above average thriller. I liked how the focus was more on psychological manipulation than action, and we may not get car chases or fist fights, but what we do get is much more affecting. Lawrence may shed more than a bit of clothing but it’s never gratuitous, instead presenting the character’s (and actress’s) obvious good looks and sexuality as a suit of armour throughout.
Director Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games) fashions the movie with a careful balance of gritty realism and eye-catching style, It also doesn’t shy away from the more violent aspects of the subject with gruelling torture and interrogation scenes that pack a punch. Although it gets rather muddled in the middle of the movie with a side story involving Lawrence’s room-mate, this remained gripping and daring viewing leading to a particularly satisfying conclusion. An easy recommendation.
Verdict: 4 /5