Stephanie Patrick (Blake Lively) veers down a path of self-destruction after a tragic plane crash kills her family. When Stephanie discovers it wasn’t an accident, she turns to a former CIA operative who can help her find the culprits. But her quest to uncover the truth soon turns into a full-blown quest for revenge as Patrick decides to punish those responsible.
Plot: A woman seeks revenge against those who orchestrated a plane crash that killed her family.
Director: Reed Morano
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Runtime: 109 min
Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: Blake Lively delivers an impressive lead performance, but The Rhythm Section plods predictably through a story that could have used some flashier riffs.
“Blake Lively delivers!”
Three years after her family’s death in a plane crash, Stephanie Patrick works as a drug addicted prostitute in London. One random day she’s approached at her brothel by a journalist who tells her that the plane crash was not an accident, but was a terrorist attack covered up by the government.
Initially she doesn’t believe him, but she visits his apartment where she sees all of his research on the crash. He tells her that the plane crash was caused by a bomb made by a man named Reza, who attends university in London. What does she do? Stephanie buys a gun and tracks Reza to the university cafeteria, planning to kill him, but at the last second, she is unable to pull the trigger. Hours later, Stephanie returns to the journalists’ apartment and finds him dead.
After going through his notes she discovers that the source for his research, B (an ex-MI6 agent) who lives remotely in Scotland. When she travels to Scotland to find him, he is disgusted with her pursuit to hunt down and kill the bomber. After she explains that she has nothing to lose, he ultimately trains her to complete her objective. They learn that Reza was hired by a radical terrorist, U-17, who downed the plane to kill liberal Muslim reformer Abdul Kaif — the rest of the plane crash was collateral damage. Full circle, Stephanie is trained to assume the identity of an assassin who’s been presumed dead for years.
After months of extensive training, Stephanie instructs her to go to Madrid to find an information broker and ex-CIA agent who might be able to lead her to U-17. Only one thing stands in their way, funding. To get the money in line, Stephanie visits the family that had been funding the journalists’ research, convinces them to help her and leaves her father’s wedding ring with Alia, promising to return for it when the deed is done.
What happens next? You’ll have to watch the film to find out.
In conclusion —
Let’s start with the biggest positive, Blake Lively nails the role — she makes the entire story credible, even with the faults the film can’t hide. Honestly, I think you could chop this up as one of her best performances to date. That’s the one aspect of this film that I liked the most, the believability. A lot of these “type of movies” turn regular people into overnight action super-heroes — which we all know doesn’t happen, thank God the film does something new in that aspect. The struggle that Blake Lively goes through feels raw and the cast all around her only helps — it’s always a positive when the cast has no weaknesses!
The problems start to build up and they become more apparent as the movie carries on, even with the great cast and performances around it. The stereotypical exotic location, the car chase, terrorism, intelligence agencies… it’s got all the pieces of a copy and paste thriller, but the plot doesn’t hold and it stumbles to keep itself together as the runtime carries on. All I can say is, it’s a decent film — nothing less, nothing more.
Want a strange analogy that might only make sense to me? I feel like The Rhythm Section would be a solid six episode ‘limited series’ on Netflix — and the full film at hand would have been a good two or three episode arc. By the time the movie ends, I feel like this would be where the ‘ultimate bad guy’ emerges and we get to the final 30-45 minutes. This movie lines up with full predictability, which in-turn makes it anti-climactic — there needed to be more, a final step for the ultimate pay-off. (She does get ‘that moment’ in the movie, it just didn’t feel that way.)
Lastly, when it comes to Bonus Features, you get more than 40 minutes of exclusive bonus content, including deleted and extended scenes and multiple featurettes detailing the creation and look of this thriller. If you want more on the film, it’s there for you.
Taking everything I’ve said into account, The Rhythm Section sits dead in the middle of a recommendation, I don’t know what direction to push you towards. I would say safely, since we’re all sitting at home, give it a rent — after that, you can add it to your Black Friday list if you really want to own it. For those that want it now, you can grab a copy at your local retailer when it releases on Blu-ray April 28th!
Have you seen The Rhythm Section? Were you a fan of this movie? Will you be giving it a rent? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
While your here, check out more of my 4K & Blu-ray reviews. Even more, see the newest trailers, press releases, music and more on the rest of the site. Follow me for faster updates on Twitter and Instagram.