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February 5, 2020

Rhythm Section (2020) --- "Witness The Birth Of An Assassin."


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Hello, Movie Buffs!
     Directed by Reed Morano (The Handmaid’s Tale, The Power), written by Mark Burnell, and based on Burnell's novel of the same name, The Rhythm Section (2020) is an action drama about a grieving woman who sets out for revenge after discovering the plane crash that killed her family was a terrorist attack. Stephanie Patrick (Blake Lively) has lived a life of self-destruction for the past three years after her family was tragically killed in a plane crash. She’s living in a dirty London brothel when independent journalist Keith Proctor (Raza Jaffrey) informs her that it was a bomb built by Reza (Tawfeek Barhom) on the orders of international terrorist known as U17 that that took out the plane, and despite British Intelligence being aware that Reza is an engineering student at the local University, nothing is being done about it. After getting over her shock, Stephanie tracks down Proctor’s informant, a former MI6 operative known as“B” (Jude Law), whom she convinces to train her to become and assume the identity of an assassin in order to get revenge on U17. What starts out as a quest for the truth soon turns into a quest for revenge as Stephanie decides to punish all those responsible.
     Although The Rhythm Section has all the credentials of a spy-focused action thriller like James Bond or Atomic Blonde, this story is more focused on Stephanie’s emotional journey and much less on being a big-budget blockbuster spy film. In fact, the film doesn’t spend too much time on the big action sequences but instead chooses to go with more grounded fight sequences or a claustrophobic car chase that is shot entirely from the car’s passenger seat.  It is a tense and engaging thriller film that is far removed from the typical spy-films of the same big explosions and cool gadgets. In addition, it appears that the film is poised to launch a new style of secret-agent films with this film being Stephanie's origin story that explores how she acquires her assassin skills and uses them to fulfill her own personal vendetta against those who killed her family. All of which is to ensure that Stephanie and her character arc remain the central focus of the film, allowing this film to stand out from others in its genre. The Rhythm Section’s directing style is immersive and claustrophobic in a way that is uncomfortable and frustratingly shaky or disorienting at times, but it is also a style that is refreshing because it takes the audience out of their comfort zone and chooses to be something more than just another action-spy-thriller.
     The cast performances are solid. Blake Lively (Age of Adeline, The Shallows, A Simple Favor) is one of my favorite actresses and here she does a phenomenal job as Stephanie Patrick. The entire film rests on her character and while she is no Atomic Blonde, she does deliver a raw and authentic performance that is realistically believable. Jude Law (Captain Marvel, Sherlock Holmes 3) is also one of my favorite actors and while I thought he delivered a good performance, his character was never developed further so the audience was never able to connect or be emotionally invested in him. He’s a very fleeting character that pops up for part of the film and then remains an enigma during the rest of the film. Also, the antagonist(s) were dull and one-dimensional, they weren’t interesting enough to increase the stakes so as a result, the climax was not as surprising as the story intended. In short, director  Morano, Lively, Law, and the rest of the supporting cast - Sterling K. Brown (This is Us) as Marc Serra, Raza Jaffrey (Lost in Space) as Keith Proctor, Tawfeek Barhom (The Looming Tower) as Reza - deserve a better film.
     Overall, The Rhythm Section (2020) is not your typical action-spy-thriller, in fact, it is almost the complete opposite with its unique directing style that gives it a scrappy, unfocused, and yet raw, emotional, and immersive feel to it. This was not what I was expecting but it was interesting to see something different than the Bond-type film I was expecting. It's a refreshing change of pace that is poised to be the start of a new kind of spy-thriller film. I highly recommend that you check out this film and determine for yourself what you think of the film. Do you agree with me? Or do you disagree?

Final Vote --- 7.5 of 10 stars

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