The history of spy thrillers is much like the characters we have come to know and love, filled with various identities that range in quality. Depending on the type of edge and style that is mixed with the thriller though (deep seated espionage and character development vs. gun slinging escapades) the fan base is very mixed on the quality of the film. Tonight, one such movie tries to take a shot at it in hopes of being a memorable addition to the movie. With a trailer that looked slow and gritty, I can’t say I was looking forward to it, but several movies have surprised me in the recent months. Robbie K here ready to share his thoughts, as we look at:
Movie: The Rhythm Section (2020)
- A Different Character Development
- A Decent Mystery Component
- More Focused Spy Thriller
- Good Performances Given Limited Range
- A Decent Look At the Morals That Come With Revenge
- The Lack Of Major Interaction With Family
- Time Warp Skip
- Convenient Forgetting Of Skills
- A Little Drawn Out
- Action Scenes A Little Too Plain
- Some Shaky Camera Scenes
- Jude Laws Mixed Involvement
- Some Rather Intense Torture Moments
There are a lot of nuances about this film that are difficult to describe, but I’ll do my best. The film focuses a lot more on character development than action (as expected from the film), but the movie takes a different seat in developing not so much the back story, but the dive into the new life that Lively’s character takes. It’s a dive into the darker aspects and morals that come with a revenge tale and while a bit cliché I give the director props for his choices in diving into that dark place. The constant turmoil of decisions, the reflection of the lives she holds in her hands, and the ever-driving fuel of revenge are all balanced in a manner that is quite gripping for those that like being into the mind of the protagonist. Yet, as the psyche of the character begins to develop, the story also starts to develop a few other components spy movies are notorious for portraying. For one thing, there is a decent mystery component in discovering the identity of the person behind the whole ordeal and who is friend vs. foe. I nearly had the twist, so it hopefully it will give you a mind teaser to drive your interest into the film. As you can guess, the focus of this film is all about the espionage component, using more tricks of the trade and seduction than actual gun play and combat. Fight scenes are realistic to support it and again, the movie has realistic flavor to it and should please those type of fans. It’s all brought to life by a decent spectrum of acting. Law comes out sort of an edgier version of his character from Captain Marvel, whose dialogue and opening moments work very well for me. Brown’s character has a more cornerstone moment, and utilizes the drama repertoire from his television days to good use. No surprise, it’s Lively who sells much of the movie, with a character that has stacked components to it and shows her ability to handle a darker, somber roles. There are times where it’s a little cheesy and drawn out, but overall I liked her skills.
Now onto some of the things I wasn’t a big fan of, for there were several in this movie. For one thing the whole story is based on her love of the family driving her actions, but this film did not do the backstory well. Dropped to lots of repetitive shots of silently interacting with her family, the interaction with the family is more repetition and tearing up from Lively than sustenance acting, a shame given the potential I had hoped to see. Still, the thirst for revenge seems to be able to get someone trained super-fast, because without the dialogue cue I would not have much knowledge of the time span of this film. The realistic nature of the film drops out at this quick pace of progression to develop skills that supposedly take years to master. It is funny, because those skills are surprisingly dropped at convenient times to help make the plot work, something that made me roll my eyes a bit given how much they bragged about it. This is something that I don’t quite think is the right component for a spy skill feature. You can probably guess this as well, but the lack of major action or even moving plot with a super villain made this movie feel a little slow for me too, and the gritty nature of the film did not help to add energy to the movie.
This takes me to the next point the action scenes themselves. Given this is no James Bond, the Rhythm Section’s action is again more realistic, where injury and blows leave debilitating marks instead of just some boo boos. While this is nice to see, it leads to these moments being a little too plain for me, with clichéd chases, less suspense and only a little bit of excitement added to it. Part of this had to do with the shaky camera work, which while not the worst, really was not needed to help add to the suspense ,when that money could have gone to better coordination. In addition, the man who trained her and seems to be going to the depths of hell with her in the trailer, is really not used that much either. While Jude Law maximizes his scenes, I was disappointed in the way they handled the character and relationship of the two at times, which again was disappointing given the start the film had. Finally, those with weak constitutions need to skip out on this film, because the fights and training may be a bit too close to traumatic experiences to be enjoyed.
The Rhythm Section is not going to be the film for everyone, because it’s a slower, drier spy thriller that really focuses on the espionage and not the action. Lively leads the film with a good performance, diving into the madness of revenge while helping figure out the true evil that caused her such grief. If that’s the kind of spy thriller you desire this movie is going to be for you. However, if you are like me, this appreciation of the spy class needs a little tweaking with a better pace, less convenient dropping of skills, a time lapse that is not to be believed, and better use of Law were all needed to take this film to its true potential. While not awful, the movie still did not meet the surprise I really wanted leading to this movie being mediocre for this reviewer. I believe, the movie is best left to a home view to maximize your potential, unless you really are a big Blake Lively fan, then you can knock yourself out.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 5.0