Despite a stacked cast and intriguing premise, Red Sparrow fails to excite

Heroine addiction: Jennifer Lawrence takes control as Russian spy Dominika in Red Sparrow, in cinemas from March 1. Photo: Supplied.
Heroine addiction: Jennifer Lawrence takes control as Russian spy Dominika in Red Sparrow, in cinemas from March 1. Photo: Supplied.

With gender equality a big talking-point in Hollywood, and Wonder Woman’s success last year, now is the perfect time to unleash female-led action movies of all types. An influx of female-driven, take-no-prisoners stories would be welcomed by the masses.

For those waiting for the next great female-led spy flick, or that highly-anticipated Black Widow solo movie, get ready...to keep waiting. 

Red Sparrow is not just disappointing but a colossal misfire on almost every level. Russian prima ballerina Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) suffers a horrific injury on stage, destroying her chance of an extensive dancing career. 

Devastated, she takes up a peculiar offer by her uncle, Ivan (Matthias Schoenaerts), to assist her sick mother, Nina (Joely Richardson). The agency she joins is not just vital, but top secret.

Handlers General Vladimir Andreievich Korchnoi (Jeremy Irons) and the “Matron” (Charlotte Rampling) put Dominika through her paces in training, seeing whether or not she can become a ‘Sparrow’. 

Sparrows lead with raw sexuality and brutal tenacity, known for punishing their victims before asking questions. 

Based on Jason Matthews’ book of the same name, Red Sparrow should have been an in-depth spy-thriller focused on Russia-USA relations. 

The movie is rotten to the core, giving its impressive cast little to work with. From the get-go, its cold, distant tone makes for a punishing experience. The plot immediately establishes Dominika and Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton) as polar opposites.  

His character, a CIA operative running his own game in Russia, should have been interesting. None of the characters, however, are fleshed out or given any dimension.

What little spy-work there is fails to excite, while both leads make stupid, nonsensical decisions ad nauseum. Through all of Red Sparrow’s gore, sex, and plot twists, I had just one thought – ‘I don’t care’. Watch it on a plane...a while from now…but only if you’ve watched everything else.