Ballerina Dominika Egorova is recruited to 'Sparrow School,' a Russian intelligence service where she is forced to use her body as a weapon. Her first mission, targeting a C.I.A. agent, threatens to unravel the security of both nations.
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A young Russian intelligence officer is assigned to seduce a first-tour CIA agent who handles the CIA's most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young officers collide in a charged atmosphere of trade-craft, deception, and inevitably forbidden passion that threatens not just their lives but the lives of others as well.
Based on a 2013 novel of the same name by retired CIA operative Jason Matthews. Before the novel was even finished, Matthews sold the film rights for a seven figure sum. The novel is the first book in a trilogy, with the others being Palace of Treason and The Kremlin's Candidate. See more »
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Don't believe the 1 star raters - this is not a Disney film (and doesn't pretend to be)
Well as someone who actually read the book and just saw the movie, and having seen how incongruous many of the ratings are here on IMDb, I felt obliged to pass on a few notes. Frankly, I'm flabbergasted at the large number of low ratings - some weirdo rated it low as there was not ENOUGH nudity (clearly he must have wound up in the wrong theatre!), on the other end of the spectrum are the puritan nut-jobs who will denigrate an entire film because their hyper-active sensibilities are offended! Perhaps reading and understanding warning labels on movies would be useful to avoid future surprises - did the terms "brutal violence, sexual violence, disturbing content, and nudity" not give you a clue?
I'm always really impressed how screenplay writers take an excellent and very complex book such as Red Sparrow and, out of necessity, condense the story/eliminate sub-plots and still come off with a movie adaptation that captures the basic premise of the book (and is shorter than 6hrs long!). I'm not sure why they substituted locations from the book (Helsinki and Rome/Athens) for Budapest and London (budget/logistics/tax incentives?), but it doesn't impact the story. I'm impressed with how the movie deftly wove key elements of the book into a shorter narrative, and yet still preserved the key story line and character arcs of the novel (for example the book has Californian Senator selling secrets to the SVR, while the movie puts this as the Chief of Staff to the US Ambassador to Hungary - enabling there to still be a mole hunt inside both the US and Russian governments).
In one of the opening scenes, I was ready to criticize the film for lack-luster research - Nate is receiving a coded message which comprises a letter "F" phonetically relayed as "Frank" vice "Foxtrot" (you don't have to be in the Air Force or Type A - I am admittedly both) to know that NATO, ICAO, International Aviation, and Western militaries/police services around the world use "Foxtrot." It kind of reminded me of those cheesy 80's cop shows that insist on using "Baker" vice "Bravo." However, after this one albeit extremely minor error, I found myself immersed in a totally believable and realistic world of post-Cold War espionage.
One reviewer said there was not a word of actual Russian spoken in the movie - again proving that some people are just not paying attention - I recall of at least one line when Dominika's boss speaks to her in Russian in the London hotel room. The number of reviewers that criticized the "fake" Russian accents to me must be Russians more upset about how the movie portrays Russia and Russian SVR ethics/tactics in a negative light. Considering the pedigree of the book's author, I'm inclined to believe in the realism and authenticity of the storyline. At least the actors made an effort to speak English with a Russian accent to lend authenticity to the story (and boy have we come a long way from Sean Connery's Scottish "Russian" accent in "Hunt For Red October" - and I'm an massive Connery fan!).
Folks, without any spoilers here, this is a harsh and graphic movie, but intended to tell a story based on how espionage, intelligence and counter-intelligence work in the real world. The violence, torture and nudity in this film is not gratuitous at all, but essential to the authenticity and realism of the story. If people want mindless, "no thinking required," family-friendly fluff, they should stick to Marvel, Disney or Pixar movies. I think Jennifer Lawrence does a brilliant job in this film; she has made another bold movie choice to broaden her character portfolio (personally, I wasn't a huge fan of "Mother" - but that is more me, not being a fan of that genre).
The movie ending has a surprise plot-twist that deviates from the book - a forgivable Hollywood nuance to show justice/closure, and end on a slightly more positive note. Like the book, the movie sets us up perfectly for a legitimate sequel - I, for one, hope this is something being contemplated!
174 of 275 people found this review helpful.
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