The Rhythm Section (2020)

The Rhythm Section poster.jpgDirector: Reed Morano
Running Time: 109 Minutes
Rating: 15
Starring: Blake Lively, Jude Law, Sterling K. Brown, Max Casella, Daniel Mays, Geoff Bell, Richard Brake, Raza Jaffrey, Tawfeek Barhom

Having long worked upon the Bond franchise, producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson have put their weight behind a different kind of spy flick. This story follows Stephanie Patrick (Blake Lively), a woman grieving for her family after their deaths in a plane crash three years ago. After discovering the crash wasn't an accident, she adopts the identity of an assassin, and sets out to find those responsible.

Adapted from his own novel, screenwriter Mark Burnell looks at one persons violent thirst for justice, as well as the consequences wrought from their very actions, and approaches it in a manner which feels different. Central to this is Stephanie, our lead who channels her grief into a journey seeking vengeance, despite not being a trained killer. She's taught a fair amount by an ex-CIA operative, played well by Jude Law, but that doesn't make the act of killing any easier for her. The inexperience in these situations, not having the stomach to commit murder, these are interesting counters to the traditionally slick spy film, and Blake Lively captures these sides so wonderfully. She convincingly portrays each hesitation, or glimmer of fear, and it feels like a believable side to this character, rather than some plot convenience.

How I wish the film continued to set itself apart so interestingly. What's left follows the expected journey, while ignoring some of the more interesting routes which make themselves known. There's also a disinterest in learning more about our lead character, such as what led her to being where she was in the films beginning, or getting a feel for who she was, before her life was forever changed. It'd be nice to see how vastly the grief changed her, and repeating the same few flashbacks just doesn't have that effect. No matter how impressive Blake Lively puts on a British accent, this is an omission which left me wanting to know more.

Taking the reins is director Reed Morano, who brings an interesting style to the proceedings. For example, a chase is shot entirely from within a car, under the impression it was captured in one take, and while it may appear shaky at times, the end result is too fascinating to not keep hold of your attention. It's moments like this which bring a great deal of promise, and make the less adventurous parts all the more disappointing.