Paramount Pictures | Release Date: January 31, 2020
4.0
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Mixed or average reviews based on 24 Ratings
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5
ChrisMizerakFeb 1, 2020
I personally haven’t seen much of Blake Lively’s acting work in general, a distinction that will eventually be rectified. I did enjoy Lively a lot in “A Simple Favor” from a few years back in which she acted opposite Anna Hendrick. But evenI personally haven’t seen much of Blake Lively’s acting work in general, a distinction that will eventually be rectified. I did enjoy Lively a lot in “A Simple Favor” from a few years back in which she acted opposite Anna Hendrick. But even with the limited experience I have with her portfolio, I genuinely like Blake Lively. She is very stylish and influential in the fashion world. She loves to cook and even does plenty of baking in her spare time. I even follow Blake Lively on Instagram, hence why I know she’s into culinary arts. Overall, she seems pretty cool and shows a laidback and natural personality that makes it easy for me to get behind. She was certainly the main reason and maybe the only reason why I decided to check out her latest film, “The Rhythm Section”. If you think about it, this is a rather odd name for a thriller of this kind. Right away, the best thing I can say about this film is that Blake Lively gives all her strongest efforts to make her role work and it doesn’t go unnoticed. Lively does her part in putting as much personality as she can get for her leading role as written and directed. The film as a whole unfortunately is only half-baked at best from both a conceptual and executional perspective. As best as I can describe it strictly off the cuffs, the plot centers on a young woman, played by Lively, whose family died in a tragic plane accident a few years ago. Under her emotional grieving, she becomes a prostitute for reasons not very well explained. In fact, I don’t even recall there even being a reason. One day, she comes across a mysterious man who informs her that the aforementioned plane accident was actually a terrorist attack. After said stranger is killed off from someone related to the incident, this woman decides to look up a connection that may help her solve this developing case. Her travels lead her to Dublin where a secret assassin, played by Jude Law, takes her captive and eventually trains her to become an assassin, again for reasoning I’m still unable to comprehend. And the rest of the film consists of her going after these targets and fulfilling her mission or missions depending on how you look at it. Notice my uncertainty and confusion over what the plot is about, even though I’ve simplified it to the best of my ability? That’s because the biggest problem with this film, that in my opinion hurts the film the most, is its lack of proper character development or any assemblage of world building. The film’s direction in the first half specifically is confused, as if they weren’t sure about what kind of film this was going to be. It’s never clear what our lead has been doing in the years since the plane accident. I don’t know why she ended up being a prostitute before she goes on this central crusade, even though she could have arguably found a better circumstance for herself anywhere else. It doesn’t make sense why Jude Law treating Blake Lively like a prisoner is considered a charming/quirky character trait or a method to his bizarre training. The film fails to explain many abrupt or random details like the ones I described. The aspect of the film that best summarizes the experience in a nutshell would have to be the music. You see, it’s done well, but at times it feels a tad inappropriate for the situation at hand. The potential is there, I’m just not sure that it’s utilized correctly. And that’s my dominant sentiment towards “The Rhythm Section” and why I’m giving it the score that I am. There are inspired tidbits every once in a while. Lively has an amusing counterattack in her training with Law when he’s training for a heated car chase, she puts one car in reverse that’s easily the funniest part of the film. There’s also a car chase that Lively finds herself in where it all takes place within one shot and you’re looking from the perspective of the co-pilot seat. You see all the angles you want to see from the front to the back to the driver. This makes the chase sequence more convincing and I at least appreciate that scene for what it is. There at times later on in the film where I’m thinking to myself, I could see individual things such as Blake Lively as an action heroine and a few choice scenes working better if the film surrounding them were more carefully constructed. As it is though, “The Rhythm Section” is a regrettably half-baked product were some of the ingredients mesh together fine at the expense of an incomplete script and an indecisive vision. Expand
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4
TVJerryFeb 7, 2020
When the movie starts, Blake Lively's character is a junkie prostitute. She's sunken to these depths because her family was in a plane crash. Turns out it was actually a bombing, so thru a series of unlikely events, including intense trainingWhen the movie starts, Blake Lively's character is a junkie prostitute. She's sunken to these depths because her family was in a plane crash. Turns out it was actually a bombing, so thru a series of unlikely events, including intense training by ex-MI6 agent (Jude Law), she sets out to wreak revenge. Unlike Jennifer Lawrence in Red Sparrow and Scarlett Johansson in several recent movies, Lively doesn't become a superhuman-ish hero. She remains vulnerable, physically and mentally, but still manages to thrash thru some physical feats and acts with continual intensity. Sadly, nothing about this film is especially exciting or surprising. Expand
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4
GinaKFeb 6, 2020
Blake Lively had enough “presence” to keep me interested in her performance, but the director lets her down by not making the pace furious enough and the screenwriter by not making the plot interesting enough. Her character’s desire forBlake Lively had enough “presence” to keep me interested in her performance, but the director lets her down by not making the pace furious enough and the screenwriter by not making the plot interesting enough. Her character’s desire for revenge seems real for about 15 minutes, but most of the time she is as much the hapless victim of dumb situations as fearsome avenger. Sadly, Jude Law’s character is merely a plot device to keep things mindlessly limping along, and you feel more sympathy for the graphic physical beating Lively takes than for her sadness and psychological pain. Expand
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6
MarkHReviewsFeb 14, 2020
In his first screenwriting effort, Mark Burnell seeks to expand the action movie genre. He and Director Reed Morano (“The Handmaid’s Tale” TV series) succeed, but only partially. “The Rhythm Section” is based on the book by the same name,In his first screenwriting effort, Mark Burnell seeks to expand the action movie genre. He and Director Reed Morano (“The Handmaid’s Tale” TV series) succeed, but only partially. “The Rhythm Section” is based on the book by the same name, one of four in Burnell’s series of Stephanie Patrick novels.

As the film opens, Stephanie (Blake Lively) is a drug-addled prostitute grieving the loss of all her immediate family in a plane crash. An investigative journalist informs Stephanie that there was a bomb on the plane. Stephanie decides to pull herself together and go after those responsible. Along the way, she’s mentored and trained by the enigmatic “B,” (Jude Law). Mayhem ensues.

“The Rhythm Section” uses two structural elements to push the boundaries of the genre. First, it’s an action movie where there’s no real action in the first 50% of the film. This creates the risk that the typical adrenaline-obsessed audience member will become bored. But it also creates the opportunity for actual character development. There’s time for Stephanie to discover her resolve, realize that she’s not very good at being a killer and, over time, improve. This is actually a refreshing shift from the boxer who does four push-ups, runs up the steps of the Philly Art Museum and is fully prepared to fight for the world championship. (Yeah, I went there.)

The second structural difference is that Stephanie, instinctively, is not a very good killer. This allows Morano and Burnell to frame her initial assignment in a very non-traditional way, focusing on her sheer terror, not giving her the cold, emotionally distant competence we’ve come to expect from these characters. In that sense, Stephanie becomes less superhero and more Everyman. It’s an interesting premise – what would happen if the average person decided to train to kill people.

Lively and the supporting cast are first-rate. Lively’s performance makes a strength of her character’s inner contradictions. Jude Law goes against type, taking a break from playing the Pope (“The Young Pope,” “The New Pope,” “Pope Springs Eternal”) and Sherlock Holmes’ sidekick. Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us” TV series) takes a break from hunky vulnerability to embrace a role which suggests that males, shockingly, are not always emotionally accessible. The problem with “The Rhythm Section” is that it ultimately will frustrate almost everybody. People wanting and expecting an action movie won’t have the patience to wade through all this character development. People coming for an atmospheric character study will find the last half of the film much too predictable. Hence its box office bust.

Having said all that, this is the type of film that deserves interest, not condescension for its obvious flaws. We say we want Hollywood to offer rethinking of a genre and not reboots, character development and not just cartoons. “The Rhythm Section” actually makes that effort
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6
Farside22Feb 6, 2020
Blake is good but the story and execution is really incredible and far fetched! I suspend reality at movies but let’s be serious hooker to killer in no time!! PLEASE!
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