Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) is a prima ballerina in the Russian ballet. Her pay from the company serves to keep Dominika and her mother (Joely Richardson) in their home, and provide the latter with the care and medication required for a muscle disorder.

Following unfortunate circumstances that bring her ballet career to an end, Dominika is approached by her uncle (Matthias Schoenaerts) – who works with the Russian government – to take on a covert mission he feels would suit her ‘skill set’.

It turns out Dominika has a hidden talent for coercion, and is consequently recruited to become a ‘Sparrow’ – a covert operative that specialises in seduction and manipulation of high-profile targets to extract information, using their body as a weapon. While on assignment, Dominika meets Nate (Joel Edgerton), an American CIA operative with an agenda of his own. Her allegiances to her State – and her uncle – will be tested as she’s put on task to tail him and source the name of the American mole hiding in plain sight in the Russian government.

Once you get past Jennifer Lawrence’s Russian accent – which isn’t bad, just unnatural – Red Sparrow is easy to enjoy. JLaw is brilliant as always, and although the plot has a lot of intertwining (and at times confusing) elements, the film remains consistently compelling and suspenseful, and packs a terrific climax. Charlotte Rampling is also a standout as the Matron of the camp where the candidates are moulded into Sparrows; a hard-hitting, cops-no-flack kinda gal.

The violence (quite literally) pulls no punches and will have you squirming in your seat in some places, providing a brutal insight into some of the methods employed by the secret service.

Red Sparrow is a spy thriller that will keep you guessing throughout, with a spellbinding and seductive performance from Jennifer Lawrence the clear highlight.

In cinemas: March 1, 2018
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Jeremy Irons
Directed by: Francis Lawrence