The Fandom Post

Anime, Movies, Comics, Entertainment & More

The Rhythm Section Review

5 min read
It’s overall a solidly executed film that I can easily recommend checking out if these types are your thing.

A slow burn revenge.

What They Say:
Stephanie Patrick veers down a path of self-destruction after a tragic plane crash kills her family. When Stephanie discovers it wasn’t an accident, she soon embarks on a bloody quest for revenge to punish those responsible.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Sometimes a song can make a trailer and that can get you to see a movie. I had little awareness of this film until I came across the trailer last week for it, which is Sleigh Bells’ cover of Where Did You Sleep Last Night? The film has an interesting pedigree as it’s directed by Reed Morano, who set the tone for The Handmaids Tale in directing that, and had my attention before that with Halt and Catch Fire. The film was produced by the Bond producers with Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson and that was surprising because they largely haven’t stepped outside of the Bond films. Which made more sense when you see that it’s based on the book series by Mark Burnell, who wrote the screenplay as well. I’m always more interested when the original writer is involved in bringing it to the screen as more of the elements tend to make their way there.

Admittedly, I was somewhat frustrated when I went looking for some basic info about the film prior to seeing it and the general minimal commentary centered around wondering why anyone would want to see a Blake Lively film where she looks as bad off as she does here. Stupid actors, not always looking their prettiest. I’ve been a fan of Lively’s since Age of Adaline and definitely enjoyed most of her recent work, including A Simple Favor. And pairing her with Jude Law, though he really is in a minor role here, is pretty solid as the two definitely work well together while not having sexual chemistry on screen. Lively has done all sorts of roles over the years and this continues her down this road as she plays Stephanie Patrick, a woman who has lost her kids, her sister, and her father in a plane crash three years prior. It was a flight she was supposed to be on that they changed to be with her but she begged off. Suffice to say, the guilt has hit her hard and three years after that she’s living in a London slum where she’s spent time doing drugs and works as a prostitute.

It’s when a freelance journalist finds her and reveals he’s working the story behind the accident and knows that it was a bombing – and that the bomber walks the streets of London – that things slowly change. It is, at its core, a simple tale of revenge and the lengths that some will go to in order to get it even when they’re largely dead themselves. As Stephanie, Lively works through the first act in a jittery way as she’s still part of the world she fell into but discovering more of the truth and seeing a tangible way of attacking it brings her back some. What does the real work is when she meets the journalists’ contact, Iain Boyd, a former MI6 man living in Scotland wilderness because of his own issues. Problematic at first, it’s no shock that he begins to turn her into what she needs to be, though it’s not like she suddenly becomes an ace assassin. It’s a slow process as she sheds her former life, picks up some basics and useful skills, and learns how to really commit to this life in order to go after not just the bomber but those that financed it and had the actual reason for doing so.

The film does a solid job in moving us around to a few locations, going from London to Scotland, spending some time in Tangiers as well as Marseille, and there’s a picture-postcard element of it that’s really nice. It is, obviously, Bond-reminiscent thanks to the producers’ style and cinematographer Sean Bobbitt who did 12 Years a Slave as well as the recent Widows film. It’s a work that’s all done with a really solid to strong technical hand and Lively gives the same kind of performance as she grapples with the loss and attempts to refocus it but without the way we usually get them on the male side of revenge. I can see how there’s certainly some franchise-potential there but I get the sense that some of the bigger elements from the books were left out of it so that it wasn’t so blatant about it. Jude Law is always fun to watch and he does a good job here with what he has. I really liked Sterling K. Brown as well as he gets to play something a little different than the usual as well.

In Summary:
With an on-set injury that pushed back filming and its initial release around this time in 2019, The Rhythm Section, unfortunately, feels like that film that gets dumped into the quiet period. It’s got a solid $50 million budget and it puts a decent chunk of that on the screen with on-location work that helps to give it more weight. What we get is something that it feels like audiences are struggling with these days because it’s not a hard and fast actioner filmer. It’s slow and precise, working through the emotional struggle of the lead as she becomes focused and refined for her goal. That takes time and it has some quick turns here and there that are a little jarring for the moment. But it’s overall a solidly executed film that I can easily recommend checking out if these types are your thing. I’m glad that Lively continues to do different projects each time rather than get stuck in a particular style and that’s what will keep me checking out her works.

Grade: B

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.