“The Rhythm Section” – R

By David S. Adams - Guest columnist

The Story

“They flew without me,” says Stephanie Patrick (Blake Lively). “My family was killed in that plane crash.” “The plane crash was a cover-up,” says former MI-6 agent, Iain Boyd, aka “B” (Jude Law). “There’s nothing terrorists are not prepared to do.” After three years of grieving, drugs and prostitution, Stephanie is learning to use a gun. She seeks revenge for the deaths of her parents, sister and brother. “Get your rhythm section under control,” says B. “Your heart is the drums, your breathing is the bass.” “What else?” asks Stephanie. “Living with it,” he says. That’s the setup for this action thriller which follows determined, but ill-prepared Stephanie on her mission of revenge.

Can grieving, drug-addicted Stephanie find her family’s killer? How far from Scotland will she search — London, Madrid, Tangiers, New York? Will you follow “Rhythm Section’s” baffling, convoluted plot? I did — sometimes.

The Actors

Blake Lively’s tough and well-performed Stephanie Patrick is full of gravitas but she’s not a smart or accomplished action hero. She is, as Jude Law’s bearded, gruff and cynical “B” says, “A cliché — prostitution, drugs. I can teach you survival but, at the end, it’ll still be you. And if you succeed, you’ll discover it won’t be worth it.” “I’m going to do this my way,” she says. Sterling K. Brown is Mark Serra, unpredictable former CIA officer who sells what he knows — or claims to know — to the highest bidder. Raza Jeffrey plays Proctor, an investigative journalist, whose apartment walls are covered with photos and news clippings of the 239 plane-crash victims. Max Casella is wealthy bad guy, Leon Giler, whom Stephanie tracks in New York City, and Richard Brake plays Lehmans, Stephanie’s target in Madrid.

Others in the cast include Ibrahim Renno as informative Vincent, Daniel Mays as Dean West, and David Duggan as Stephanie’s brother David Patrick.

Other Comments

“The Rhythm Section,” directed by Reed Morano, is based on Mark Burnell’s 1999 novel. Burnell wrote the screenplay, with duplicitous characters and convoluted plot twists I found difficult to keep sorted out. It was also difficult to identify with Blake Lively’s Stephanie. She’s on screen throughout, but the film provides so little insight into her character, it was hard — if you’re like me — to identify with her or care much about what happens.

Rated R for violence, sexual content, pervasive language, and drugs, “The Rhythm Section” runs 109 minutes. You could miss this one.

Final Words

Why not learn to be a killer?

Lively learns from Jude Law;

“Rhythm Section,” it’s a thriller —

Not the best I ever saw.


By David S. Adams

Guest columnist

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