The Rhythm Section review – an off-beat spy thriller This Film Can't Dance



It’s hard to believe the stars of vapid spy thriller The Rhythm Section fell for a script that is so lazily strung together; it’s the cinematic equivalent of a couch potato.

I love a good spy-thriller. It offers action, suspense, and a small bit of thinking man’s (or woman’s) action. Naturally, I was excited about The Rhythm Section when I first saw the trailer; a handsome looking thriller with its grade-A cinematography and an all-star cast, I was excited. After watching it, It’s hard to believe the stars of this vapid spy thriller fell for a script that is so lazily strung together it’s the film version of a couch potato.

The film’s protagonist is Stephanie Patrick (Blake Lively), a woman who tumbles into a rabbit hole of addiction and prostitution after a plane crash that kills her entire family. Stephanie is approached by a reporter (Lost In Space‘s Raza Jaffrey) who has discovered it was a terrorist attack that brought down the airliner. She, as movies tend to do, locates a former MI-operative named “B” (Jude Law) and a shady broker (Waves’ Sterling K. Brown) to help her hunt down every single last one of them and take revenge on the ones responsible; yada, yada, yada.

The script for The Rhythm Section is so cocksure of itself that it never offers any evidence on why its characters come to the decisions or conclusions they make. The best way I can describe it without giving anything away is to use an example from the great late film critic, Roger Ebert, who pointed out in the first cut of Once Upon a Time in America how Robert De Niro would know about that secret passageway, and in a later cut a scene was put back in that explained it. There are at least a couple of questionable scenes that are equally head-scratching and it appears to be more than an editing issue. The film is so arrogant about it, it doesn’t care to explain it in any cinematic way, even the basic plot points.

Lively’s Patrick is such a novice and over her head here in Reed Morano’s film that she shouldn’t escape the brothel without being killed by her pimps. First-time feature film screenwriter Mark Burnell has shaped a world where all her adversaries are so incompetent no one can defeat her, and she barely escapes a wheelchair-bound psychopath that needs regular breathing treatments for COPD. There is even a scene where Law’s B tells Patrick to shoot him in the chest because he has a bulletproof vest on; wouldn’t you worry about getting, I don’t know, shot in the face?

Even the film’s title, The Rhythm Section, doesn’t work since it’s all about controlling your breathing and Lively panics all the way to the end. Don’t bother spending your money, your time, or bother waiting for this arrogant, lazy spy thriller that offers nothing challenging or any type of stimulation, intellectual or physiological

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M.N. Miller

M.N. Miller has been a film and television writer for Ready Steady Cut since August of 2018 and is patiently waiting for the next Pearl Jam album to come out.

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