The Rhythm Section
Blake Lively (Gossip Girl) is the tragedy-stricken Stephanie Patrick, an assassin out for revenge. Reed Morano (The Handmaid’s Tale) directs while Mark Burnell translates his novel series of the same name into a near-serviceable screenplay. There are instances of this transplantation going askew, especially in the first half of the film, as the scaffolding of the plot’s arc is all too hastily set up. Ignoring some of these potholes, the film still struggles to entertain for longer than the odd car chase, settling instead into skittish banality.
Lively is convincing and up for the role, as is Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes), who plays her rugged ex-MI6 mentor Iain Boyd. Their paths meet following a series of terrible events, which lead to a bereaved Stephanie developing an addiction and working as a prostitute. When new information comes to light, turning her sombre mourning into a raison d’être, Stephanie must seek out Boyd in Scotland.
Depending on what you enjoy from your action movies, Stephanie’s rawness – or, in other words, incompetence – can either be refreshing or vexing. We’ll settle on it being divisive. Her relatability and appeal, however, are fatally flawed after some rash decisions and downright stupid actions that lead to further tragedy.
If we don’t love our protagonist or appreciate her assassin credentials, there should be something else on offer. Lively and Law’s developing relationship provides The Rhythm Section with a harmonious, flowing equilibrium. Alas, this is bookended by discordantly tedious periods. Rather than going out with a bang, we hobble towards a barely passable denouement.
Limping into an already crowded field of rehashed assassin thrillers, The Rhythm Section doesn’t hit the target. At once prosaic and confused about its intentions, the film comes armed with a tagline inviting us to “witness the birth of an assassin”. In actuality, over the course of almost two hours, we witness the death of another prospective franchise.
The Rhythm Section is released nationwide on 31st January 2020.
Watch the trailer for The Rhythm Section here: