The Rhythm Section

A fairly good premise goes awry. Various elements should make for a good story: CIA, MI6, terrorist bombing, widow sent into destitution (and prostitution), revenge or redemption for resolution.

But sadly, the film is a bit of a muddled mess.

It is uncertain if the blame sits more with the writer or the director. The acting is also rather limp across the cast. The production company (EON) has a pretty good track record, having overseen the James Bond franchise, but here they let the proceedings ride off the rails.

Blake Lively plays the lead, and carries on admirably despite the troubles around the rest of the set. She showed spark in the two ‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’ films. Jude Law has done fine work onstage and in front of the camera, here is rather lackluster as the failed Mi6 agent. He trains our lead in the art of revenge via various assassination tactics. Ostensibly that is where the title emanates, the need to gauge your breathing in controlled fashion.

Mark Burnell wrote the book and adapted the screenplay, which has various difficult plot points. Perhaps the confusion portrayed by our heroine is supposed to be conveyed by the drifting nature of the storyline? Director Reed Morano (‘Meadowland,’ ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’) seems to have his hands too loosely at the controls; what could have been an impressive car chase comes off rather half-baked. The soundtrack taps into many early 1950s hits, which is a plus.

Undoubtedly the James Bond veterans were hoping to craft a film worthy of sequels, but that seems unlikely with ‘The Rhythm Section.’

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.