“Red Sparrow,” directed by Francis Lawrence

Movie, 2018

A welcome characterisation of a strong female central character, dumped, somewhat, in what feels like and old-fashioned anti-Russian espionage film, albeit from the Russian Red Sparrow’s point of view. While much of the film feels modern, the routing out of the mole, the nipping across borders and coming up against double agents is a little passé, while the sex and gore feel overdone and exploitative. The focus on Dominica, and her turning against her tragedy and abuse should engage the emotions a little more, but the steeliness and the visceral visuals don’t add up to an overall feeling of satisfaction. The ballerina backstory is interesting; things slide thereafter.

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