If you’re looking for one of the most generic spy/action movies out there, you really can't go wrong with “The Rhythm Section.”
If you’re hoping for anything more or less than that, this is a film you should definitely steer away from.
“The Rhythm Section” is directed by Reed Morano and adapted from the novel of the same name by Mark Burnell, who also wrote the screenplay for this film. The film follows a woman named Stephanie, played by Blake Lively, who seeks revenge on a group of terrorists who blew up a plane and killed her entire family. In order to find her retribution, she goes through a series of strenuous challenges, like training with an ex-MI6 agent and learning to keep calm during intense situations, until she is ready to go out in the field and get to work.
To get straight to the point, this movie was kind of dumb.
The base story of “The Rhythm Section,” while painfully generic at times, was somewhat entertaining. It feels as if it’s supposed to be a John Wick meets James Bond film, though it’s not nearly as thrilling as either of those. When Lively’s character was out in the world, interrogating fools and beating criminals to a pulp, I did find myself somewhat amused. However, when the film tried to do anything else, like develop a complex story or delve into its characters, it fell flat on its face.
Though Lively brought intensity to her action sequences and sold every single punch she threw, her performance across the entire film left much to be desired. Lively is a solid actress, and I was looking forward to seeing her in this film, but ultimately the film was just two hours of her brooding and spying on bad guys with a serious look on her face. There wasn’t any nuance to be found. She gave a pretty wooden performance that certainly didn’t help this film stand out from the pack.
The story is riddled with major logic and pacing issues. “The Rhythm Section” often just jumps from one story point to another without providing any sort of explanation of what led from one to the other. It feels as if the filmmakers just expect the audience to go along with these gaps in story and ignore all of the unanswered questions. Characters often make completely irrational decisions, but they’re not the kind of irrational choices that could potentially make a character more interesting. It feels more like a screenwriter stubbornly wanting to include story elements that don’t work, all without even remotely bothering to work them naturally into the story.
For example, there’s a point in which Stephanie is meeting with an informant played by Sterling K. Brown. She’s gathering information on a target she’s been assigned to kill. However, intermixed between shots of these characters discussing the mission is a sex scene featuring the two of them. It just comes out of nowhere. It’s not set-up and is never addressed again. What makes matters worse is that the characters had little-to-no chemistry together, so it was unnecessary and fairly awkward to include.
Beyond all this, there were also numerous mistakes in the editing and filming that stood out like a sore thumb.
One mistake was the lighting throughout the film. Almost every scene was way too dark. Not only was it hard to see what the characters were doing, but on a couple occasions it was difficult to tell which character was even on screen. Maybe this was a stylistic choice, or maybe someone just forgot to do their job. Either way, it was extremely distracting.
The most memorable part of my experience going to see “The Rhythm Section” was getting to see the trailer for “A Quiet Place: Part II” on the big screen.
A film has to be pretty dull and unentertaining if the biggest takeaway from the experience was a trailer before the movie. “The Rhythm Section” is far from the worst movie in this genre, but it’s such a hollow experience that you might be better off watching a garbage movie over this. At least then you’ll have something to talk about. This film falls into a bottomless pit of mediocrity that it never works its way out of.