Jennifer Lawrence sizzles in unsentimental neo-Cold War thriller Red Sparrow
Richard Crouse also reviews the reboot of a '70s series in Death Wish, and the Sally Potter-directed The Party.
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RED SPARROW 3½ stars
In Red Sparrow, Jennifer Lawrence is a former Russian prima ballerina forced into the life of international intrigue as an undercover spy.
Lawrence is terrific, appearing in virtually every frame of the film, creating a portrait of a woman willing to do whatever it takes to survive.
Red Sparrow is an unsentimental but occasionally ludicrous neo-Cold War thriller that goes heavy on the espionage before succumbing to predictable story points.
DEATH WISH 2½ stars
Bruce Willis stars in the rebooted Death Wish franchise as Paul Kersey, a surgeon who turns vigilante after his wife and daughter are attacked.
Death Wish could’ve been a poignant film about a man pushed too far but there is nothing poignant about director Eli Roth’s reboot of the '70 series.
Audiences are meant to applaud every time Kersey blows away a bad guy and not think too deeply about the normalization of dangerous behaviour.
THE PARTY 4 stars
In The Party, Kristin Scott Thomas stars as the host of a celebratory party that goes off the rails in a swirl of bad feelings, venomous remarks and violence.
Canapés smoulder, truths are revealed — there will be no spoilers here — and lives are shattered, all in just 71 entertaining minutes.
The Party is a delightfully nasty piece of work, artfully realized by director Sally Potter and delivered with just the right amount of rancour by a wonderful cast.
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In Focus: Richard Crouse