Action Drama

Review: ‘The Rhythm Section’ Puts a Female-Driven Twist on the Bond Franchise

January 31, 2020Sherry Li

An action-packed revenge thriller from the producers of the James Bond series, The Rhythm Section is an intriguing tale that shows what reaching rock bottom can drive a person to do.

Based on the book of the same name by Mark Burnell, director Reed Morano's adaptation sees Blake Lively playing Stephanie Patrick, a British woman who was attending Oxford before a plane crash killed her entire family. Fast forward to the present day and Stephanie's life has gone way off track. A prostitute and on drugs, she's still suffering from the fallout of that tragedy. But when a journalist approaches her and tells her that the crash was a result of a terrorist attack and that the culprits are plotting another attack, Stephanie embarks on a mission to stop them.

Bolstered by some exciting action sequences, the movie is fantastic at creating scenes that feel incredibly tense and unsettling. However, the plot that strings these scenes together can feel a bit thin at times. Boyd (Jude Law), a former MI6 officer who helps train Stephanie, at one point calls her a cliché; but, ironically, that is exactly what her character is. That said, while the story doesn't feel unique, it manages to stay interesting in spite of this.

There is also no shortage of questions that arise in the first act which require viewers to suspend their disbelief. For example, why does Proctor (Raza Jaffrey), the freelance journalist, reach out to Stephanie and only her? Why does he let her stay in his apartment? And why does Stephanie decide to go to the coordinates she finds, leading her to Boyd? There are many plot points and decisions that simply feel unreasonable or unrealistic from a character standpoint. Thankfully, the second and third acts are much better.

All in all, The Rhythm Section could have been a much more mediocre film, but Lively's performance and the fact that the movie doesn't over-sexualize its female lead makes the result much more palatable. Ultimately, fans of spy thrillers might be left satisfied; but for others, this may not quite hit the mark.

The Rhythm Section releases January 31st, 2020 from Paramount Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of R for violence, sexual content, language throughout, and some drug use. Its runtime is 1 hr. 49 min.

You May Also Like