Red Sparrow - Sky Cinema Premiere

(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Jennifer Lawrence plays an ex-ballerina who becomes a Russian spy

Jennifer Lawrence plays an ex-ballerina who becomes a Russian spy.

She is coerced by her devious uncle (Matthias Schoenaerts) into working for Russia's foreign intelligence service after her career with the Bolshoi is destroyed by an on-stage accident.

She gets 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 how is Lawrence to be of service to the state? By 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. As events pan out, she is forced into a playing a perilous double game.

Based on a novel by former CIA agent Jason Matthews, this thriller takes its far-fetched story extremely seriously, serving up grisly violence and lurid sex as the labyrinthine plot unwinds.

However, Lawrence's steely grace and deadpan inscrutability ensure the spy shenanigans work well.