The Rhythm Section, directed by Reed Moreno, is an action thriller film about a lady named Stephanie Patrick (Blake Lively), who loses her family in a plane crash. Later on, learning that the incident was orchestrated by terrorists, her anger awakens a new sense of purpose, and she decides to take revenge by taking the identity of an assassin to take down those responsible for the death of her family.
"Think of your heart as drums, your breathing as the bass" (words from the beginning of the film).
*This article contains spoilers. Please read with caution.*
The Rhythm Section starts with a scene of Stephanie aiming to kill one of the men responsible for the death of her family (mother, father, brother, sister). Flashing back to eight months ago, we get to see Stephanie’s initial life. It's been three years since the death of her family from the plane crash, a flight she was also meant to take. She is hooked on heroin, her body is covered in bruises, her eyes look pale and swollen, and her skin is in bad condition. She looks lifeless as she recalls happier times with her family before the incident of the plane crash. Stephanie was at her lowest, and she was engaged in prostitution and drug abuse. To sum it up, she is a mess.
Keith Proctor, a freelance writer and an investigative journalist, tracks Stephanie and briefly tells her the plane crash in which her family died was no accident but an act of terrorism by a radical Islamist. He got booted out but managed to drop his card for her. Stephanie looks for Proctor and asks, “Why did you come for me?” Proctor replies, “Because you’re another victim. You’re just not dead yet.” According to Proctor, the authorities know the person responsible for building the explosive device but have left him on the streets of London, walking like a free man for a bigger purpose.
Proctor treated Stephanie nicely even though she was such a messy human being. She even stole money (to purchase a gun and get stuff) and some vital information from him and went on to confront the bomb maker (Mohammed Reza) to kill him in broad daylight. It was unsuccessful as she could not pull the trigger. This backfired severely because she lost her bag, which had everything except the gun and her cellphone. This turn of events led to the death of Proctor. He was found by Stephanie with his throat slit in his apartment.
Stephanie sets off on a path of revenge that leads her to be trained by an ex-MI6 agent Iain Boyd after gathering information from the remains in the house of Proctor to kill those responsible. When the exiled MI6 agent who had been Proctor’s informant takes her in and trains her, he tutors her in fanatical fitness by making her jog long-distance, swim through the freezing cold loch, hand-to-hand combat, teaching her always to stay calm and let her measured heartbeat and breathing ("Think of your heart as drums, your breathing as the bass") provide the all-important physical “rhythm section.” The rapport between Stephanie and Iain allows the movie to relax and pick up the pace on various occasions.
With nothing left to lose, Stephanie assumes the identity of a ruthless hitwoman, Petra Reuter, whom everyone thinks is dead. She reaches out to an information trafficker named Marc Serra to identify the target we saw her about to eliminate in the opening scene. This went on as she traveled to various notable cities like Madrid, New York, and Marseille managing to eliminate all those involved in the death of her family (with an element of luck). She also kills Marc Serra who was a bad guy as well.
The Rhythm Section is Stephanie’s origin story, covering her transformation from a beautiful and unique Oxford student to a drug addict and then into an assassin when she learns that the death of her parents in a jet crash was no accident. I actually really loved this film and was watching it rather critically. I'm not one to get impressed quickly, but I found Blake Lively’s performance and the quiet build-up of the story to be quite good. You can clearly see she puts in her all, from her British accent to how she carried herself throughout the movie. The way she struggles to complete aspects of her missions felt relatable, honestly (nobody finds it easy to kill, well, most people); most of us would fall on our faces hard if we were in her shoes, just remembering that scene of her swimming in that freezing loch. There were a handful of plot issues, but they were easily pieced together.
About the author: My name is Franklin Ifeanyi. I am someone who likes to help people; I hope to do that with writing.
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