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  • Writer's pictureMax Markowitz

The Rhythm Section

A Sunken Ship of a Film

Reed Morano’s The Rhythm Section is not a film I’m writing a review for in order to convince you to or to not see it. I’m writing this review to answer a question no one was asking: How many ways are there to tell a story?

If you ask the other critics who've reviewed The Rhythm Section, their answer (inside their heads) would be one. The Rhythm Section got negative reviews and is doing terribly at the box office not because it's a bad film but because it's not a film that traditionally fits into the action category. Audiences who spend money to see action films won't pay to see The Rhythm Section because it doesn't play by old rules.

The Rhythm Section follows Stephanie Patrick (Blake Lively), a grieving woman who seeks revenge after discovering the plane crash that killed her family wasn't an accident. Films with this kind of plot promise stereotypical gun violence, car chases, and explosions. Instead, The Rhythm Section is a drama above all else and a very depressing one at that.

Sometimes this dramatic twist makes action films better (Such as Red Sparrow which also got terrible reviews for ridiculous reasons, that film was amazing) but The Rhythm Section is not one of them. The Rhythm Section relied too much on the storytelling rather than the events that could come with that. Storytelling is very important in any film but The Rhythm Section uses its storytelling to present ideas only to do nothing with them later.

Had the script been better, Lively might have been more memorable. Action leads always know what to do in a crisis at the top of their heads. Stephane doesn't and that's what made her so real to me. All action leads should be like her but with better writing. Stephanie learns how to navigate the dangerous underworld she chases but by the time she's a pro, the script was too immersed in its own flaws for me to care.

Going back to Red Sparrow for a moment, Jennifer Lawrence wasn't immediately sharp in crises in the beginning either. She learned how to become intelligent and manipulative. The script of Red Sparrow showed her rising to her level and because that script as a whole was clever enough, she became forever planted in my memory. She was sincerely empowering to watch.

I'm saying all this to point out that films that are flawed are often the ones that can't afford to be. They can't afford to be because when you watch them, you see what they could be. You see potential holding out a hand. The film in turn never grabs onto it. They insist on only using their own hands and doing everything themselves. The Rhythm Section is one of these films.

The Rhythm Section’s script and action sequences were just housed with no doors for any substance to open. Lively tried her hardest with her performance and she's not bad at all. She portrays her trauma by messing up her life in disturbing ways and she perfectly nails the part of someone who for a while just doesn't care anymore.

Unfortunately, the script was so mediocre that not even Lively could save it. The Rhythm Section was a sunken ship of a film. I appreciated Lively’s performance but the ship drags her down with it. All you have in the end, our thoughts about the film you'll most likely have trouble putting into words.

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