JEN­NIFER LAWRENCE takes flight as a lethally se­duc­tive rus­sian se­cret agent

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Jen­nifer Lawrence plays a bal­le­rina re­cruited as a spy in the es­pi­onage thriller Red Spar­row

SPY THRILLER Fri­day, Sky Premiere HD, 12.10pm & 8pm

JEN­NIFER LAWRENCE IS back in tan­dem with Hunger Games di­rec­tor Fran­cis Lawrence for Red Spar­row, which sounds as though it could be a fur­ther in­stal­ment of the ear­lier se­ries yet is ac­tu­ally an es­pi­onage thriller.

The mood, how­ever, re­mains grim. Lawrence may have left be­hind the world of dystopian fan­tasy ad­ven­ture, but the or­deals she goes through here are ev­ery bit as bru­tal as those en­dured by for­mer hero­ine Kat­niss Everdeen.

Her new char­ac­ter is Rus­sian prima bal­le­rina Do­minika Egorova, co­erced by her de­vi­ous un­cle (Matthias Schoe­naerts) into work­ing for Rus­sia’s for­eign in­tel­li­gence ser­vice, the SVR, af­ter her ca­reer with the Bol­shoi is ended by an on-stage ac­ci­dent.

She is sent to ‘Spar­row School’, a bleak spy academy run by Char­lotte Ram­pling’s icy ma­tron, who tells her new charge, ‘If you can­not be of ser­vice to the state I am to put a bul­let through your head.’ And be­ing of ser­vice to the state means her be­ing trained in the arts of se­duc­tion and ma­nip­u­la­tion.

Her first mis­sion takes her to Bu­dapest to ply her new skills on Joel Edgerton’s canny CIA agent, the han­dler of a deep-cover Rus­sian mole. Soon, though, she is forced to play a per­ilous dou­ble game.

Based on a novel by for­mer CIA agent Ja­son Matthews, the film takes its far-fetched story ex­tremely se­ri­ously, serv­ing up grisly vi­o­lence and lurid sex as the labyrinthine plot un­winds. The re­sults lack the daz­zle of 2017’s

Atomic Blonde, but Lawrence’s steely grace and dead­pan in­scrutabil­ity make the spy shenani­gans work. 2018, 15, 140min


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