Based upon the book by Jason Matthews, "Red Sparrow" is an international spy thriller in which Dominika (Lawrence), a former ballerina, is forced to enter Sparrow School, a secret government program that thrusts her into a treacherous espionage game between Russia and the CIA. She emerges trained as a lethal agent, but is trapped in a world she desperately wants to escape. (Gary Reber)
Special features include commentary with Director Francis Lawrence; six featurettes: "A New Cold War: Origination And Adaptation" (HD 12:42), "Agents Provocateurs: The Ensemble Cast" (HD 15:21), "Tradecraft: Visual Authenticity" (HD 13:28), "Heart Of The Tempest: On Location" HD 10:56). "Welcome To Sparrow School: Ballet And Stunts" (HD 12:12) and "Puzzle Of Need: Post Production" (HD 14:08); 10 deleted scenes with optional commentary by Director Lawrence (HD 12:20); and a Movies Anywhere digital copy.
The 2.40:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10/Dolby Vision picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed digitally using the Arri Alexa Mini and XT Plus camera systems and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. The picture is gorgeous, and while generally dark, the color palette exhibits a wide color gamut with naturally rich and warm hues that at times are nicely saturated, such as the reds in the opening ballet sequence and later a red dress worn by Dominika. Wood tones and furnishings are naturally hued throughout, and location settings are realistic. Fleshtones are perfectly natural under varying lighting conditions. HDR contrast is excellent with enhanced whites, deep blacks, and revealing shadow delineation. The natural contrast effectively enhances the realism of the imagery. Resolution is superb, especially in extreme close-ups of facial features, hair, clothing, furnishings, architectural detail, and object texture. Jennifer Lawrence's apartment furnishings are rich in texture. The steam room scene exhibits a "misty" atmospheric image that is well crafted with bright lights shining through the steam. WOW! sequences are numerous including 01:04:21 to 01:07:38, and 01:54:15 to 1:55:25. This is a beautifully crafted picture with authentic locations and settings, which enhances the sense of realism. (Gary Reber_
The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack is dynamic sounding with deep bass accents and an aggressive holosonicz® surround presence, with directionalized channelization. James Newton Howard's lush orchestral score is prominent throughout, with excellent envelopment and extension to the height channels. Ambience sounds of the various location urban settings provide enhanced realisms, such as crowd noises and traffic. Still, except for the score, the sonics are generally restrained. Being primarily dialogue focused, the dialogue is perfectly intelligible with good spatial integration.
The Immersive Sound element is nicely complementary with an almost constant extension of the orchestral score to the height channels. But otherwise, scattered elements are limited to a couple of gun shots, a taxi horn, wind, birds chirping, a motorcycle speeding, a low-level electrical buzz, a gate buzz, a dog barking, a BMW engine rev, and a jet liner takeoff. So much has been ignored by the sound designers, which is the norm for most Dolby Atmos soundtracks.
Still, the ear-level sonics, complemented with a first-rate orchestral score, make for an impactful holosonic, spherical surround experience. (Gary Reber)