The Rhythm Section (2020)
Director: Reed Morano
Writer: Mark Burnell
Starring: Blake Lively, Jude Law, and Sterling K. Brown
Plot: After a woman’s family is killed in a terrorist attack, she decides to get revenge by killing every one responsible.
Review: The Rhythm section is a movie that is exists. I feel like that’s more or less going to be the legacy of this one, because, not even 24 hours after finishing it, that’s how I feel about this movie. It’s not good or engaging in any way. Yet, I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily bad either. It’s kinda just there. To give you guys a peak behind the curtain, I’m actually changing my review system because of this movie. I never really had a place for meh movies on the old system. So, I’m going to more or less steal the scoring system from IGN. (Don’t tell on me.) Anyways, I guess back to talking about my opinions on this movie… as much as I can really muster up.
If anything sticks out to me in The Rhythm Section, it’s that Blake Lively’s performance is actually pretty good. She plays a tragic figure trying to make something out of her life, while still not 100% sure she’s into the whole killing thing. It’s an interesting character and Lively does a great job portraying that balance between hesitancy and resilience. For example, early on during her training sequence, there is a scene where her trainer casts doubt on her. He calls her weak and tells her she can’t do a certain tough activity. Then, without any dialogue, we see the determination and pain in her eyes as she suffers through it. It’s actually kind of moving. Likewise, there are several times where her character’s comfort level is pushed and Lively truly seems heartbroken by the things she has to do on the way to revenge.
However, Lively’s character is very inconsistent. This isn’t her fault. It’s on the writing here. They can’t seem to determine whether she’s a badass killer or a normal woman bumbling her way through this extreme circumstance. It switches back and forth constantly. I feel like most movies would show both, but there would be a progression. She’d start off not great and then slowly get better. Not here. It’s literally moment to moment. It’s like they wanted to tell a story of a normal person who signed up for more than they could handle, but someone at the studio was like “make her kick some ass” so they changed every thing. It would’ve been much better if they had just picked a lane. The plot was also super confusing, in my opinion. There was a lot of “go here and kill this guy” without ever really explaining who that guy is or why he’s important to the overall mission. Maybe I’m just dumb, but I could never really tell how far she had progressed in her overall mission. That definitely added to the “meh” of the whole experience.
The directing is also uninspired. It feels a lot like a lesser Jason Bourne clone. It’s shaky cam to the extreme. That’s not nessecarily a bad thing. It can work. However, in the age of John Wick and Atomic Blonde, this just seems like a lazy way to direct action sequences now. If an actor isn’t giving their all, you can really feel it. Oh, I have to mention the part that actually made me super annoyed in the theater too. So, every time Lively’s character is sad, which is A LOT if you can’t tell, the director shows this by having her flash back to the last time she’s with her family. There’s one scene where she’s literally just sitting there being sad and the flash backs happen like 25 times. And, it’s not like we’re getting important plot points either. These flashbacks are quiet, slow motion, angelic looking scenes of her family just hanging out. They literally add nothing except for “this family seemed nice but now they’re dead.” It doesn’t stop after that first sequence either! This is a recurring thing! There’s probably 15 minutes of these slow, quiet filler shots. Lively’s performance is good enough that we don’t need them. They just seem sappy, boring and unnecessary. I guess that kind of sums up my opinions on the movie too in a weird way.
TL;DR: The Rhythm Section doesn’t really feel original or fresh in any way. It’s not emotionally engaging. Other than a few stand out moments from Lively, it’s just kind of there.
Score: 5/10 (Meh.)