Stephanie Patrick (Blake Lively) veers down a path of self-destruction after a tragic plane crash kills her family. When Stephanie discovers it wasn’t an accident, she turns to a former CIA operative who can help her find the culprits. But her quest to uncover the truth soon turns into a full-blown quest for revenge as she decides to punish those responsible.
The Rhythm Section is a movie that not a lot of people were all that excited for, and I don’t blame them. The marketing behind it was almost nonexistent. There was only one poster released for the film, and even the poster is just kind of bland and doesn’t do much to sell the movie that the studio was making. Even the trailer feels strange and uneventful, which is more than likely the reason why not a bunch of audiences are flocking to the theatre to see this new Reed Morano-directed feature.
But in defense of the filmmakers, The Rhythm Section is a hard movie to market. It really is. This is a movie in which a woman goes on a path of revenge after a plane crash tragically kills her family and as the film progresses, she learns secrets and has to uncover mysteries.
To be truthful though, this is a movie in which they attempt to set up questions and mysteries and attempt to answer them later, but not only are these supposed “secrets” and “mysteries” not all that interesting, but the answers they give are sloppy and misguided. This is a movie that will leave you feeling drastically unsatisfied and depressed more than anything.
I understand that the subject matter of the film is definitely depressing and sad, it is just that the script barely has a moment in which we feel excitement or enjoyment. It’s a needlessly dour experience that is also extremely boring. Clocking in at one hundred and nine minutes in length, The Rhythm Section is not really all that long of a movie. But what makes it feel longer than it actually is is the script by Mark Burnell, who wrote the novel of the same name that the film is based on.
The script has way too many scenes in which nothing of meat really happens. There isn’t a lot of story progression here, and as a result, a large portion of the movie not only feels wasted, but boring. Don’t get me wrong though, this movie is not all bad. This is nowhere near one of the worst movies I have ever seen or anything like that. There are most certainly some positives here.
One of which being the performances all across the board. Blake Lively is truly great here in the lead role. She gives an emotionally driven performance, and her work here is really strong. That being said however, I did not root for her character nearly as much as I was supposed to. The entire movie is about her trying to get revenge on people responsible for this plane crash that I mentioned earlier. But what is baffling about the film is that her character also ends up killing numerous people along the way. So, this will also cause the family members of these people to want to get revenge on her more than likely in the future too. It’s stuff like that that make this film kind of hard to watch at times.
There are also some incredibly strange music choices throughout, which are strangely upbeat songs. If that was not frustrating enough, the editing is also quite jarring. It is not horrible editing by any means, but there a lot of abrupt cuts that end scenes that feel quite unnatural unfortunately.
But like I said, this movie is not a trainwreck. It is not going to go down in history as one of the worst movies ever made or anything like that. But what it is, is a massively underwhelming film that doesn’t really have a lot to say or do, and there is barely any thrills to be found along the way. Yes, there are a couple of scenes that were fun to watch, but they are so few and far between. Another good element to the film is its cinematography by Sean Bobbitt. It is not miraculous, but it gets the job done well.
The Rhythm Section struggles to tell a cohesive and thrilling story with a weak screenplay, bizarre editing and off-putting stylistic choices.
Overall Grade: C-
MPAA Rating: R for violence, sexual content, language throughout, and some drug use
Directed by: Reed Morano
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: January 31, 2020
Running Time: 109 minutes