Red Sparrow is the kind of film you know whether you'll like before you see it. If you like pulpy spy movies and Jennifer Lawrence, it's probably suited to your tastes.
Lawrence plays Dominika Egorova, which sounds like a Russian ballerina's name, and she just so happens to be a ballerina for the first 10 minutes or so. When injury ends her dancing career, her uncle Ivan (Matthias Schoenaerts) recruits her to become a "Sparrow," a secret agent highly trained in the science of seduction. To explain why Sparrows exist, one character gravely says: "The Cold War did not end. It shattered into a thousand dangerous pieces."
Dominika's mission is to get close to Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton), a CIA agent, and learn the identity of Nash's prized asset, a mole in the Russian intelligence sector. The plot is generously seasoned with the salt of the genre—double crosses, cobblestone European alleyways, shadowy rendezvous in parks and hotel rooms, foreign banks. There's also a weird side tangent involving the heist of a stack of floppy disks that apparently contain some kind of important spy information. This ridiculous plot point is treated, like the entire rest of the movie, with deathly seriousness.
Even if you don't enjoy Red Sparrow in the same way the filmmakers intended, it's a solid spy movie if you want an excuse to turn off your brain for two hours and 20 minutes.
CRITIC'S RATING: 3/4 stars
Red Sparrow is rated R and opens Friday, March 2 at Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, City Center, Clackamas, Division, Eastport, Lloyd, Tigard, Vancouver.