Blake Lively and Jude Law star in “The Rhythm Section,” an action-packed crime drama. Lively plays Stephanie Patrick. Six months earlier, Stephanie’s life is wonderful. We see her at a joyful moment in time with her family. She veers down a path of self-destruction after a tragic plane crash kills her family.
She soon discovers it wasn’t an accident. As she tracks down the bomb makers, her quest for justice devolves into a full-blown drive for revenge and to punish those responsible. Stephanie turns to a former CIA operative with his own checkered past, Iain Boyd (Law), who can help her find the culprits.
“You’re not made for this. I can teach you to be fit. I can teach you survival. But at the end of the day, you’ll still be you. It’ll take longer than you want, it’ll hurt more than you think. And you most certainly won’t succeed. But if by some miracle you do succeed, this is what you’ll discover. It’s not worth it.”
Part drill sergeant, part Yoda, Iain still believes in Stephanie. When she can’t jog back to his house, he tells her to swim. She tells him she can’t.
“You don’t know what I’ve been through,” she says.
“Drugs, prostitution. That’s not a tragedy. It’s a cliché. Either drown or quit.”
He continues to train her to fight, shoot and combative driving. “You’ve got your breathing sorted. Be calm. Be still. You’ve got to get your rhythm section going. Think of your heart as the drum. Your breathing is the base. You get your breathing sorted; you’re sorted.”
She consistently hits the bulls-eye. “That’s the easy part,” he says.
“What’s the hard part?”
“Living with it.”
Stephanie travels to Madrid, Tangiers and other beautiful locations to hunt down and kill the terrorists. The beauty of the locales serve as a backdrop for her descent into despair and loss of humanity.
“You’re just another victim. You’re not dead yet,” she is told.
Stephanie’s resolve is intense. As much as she punishes herself, she is determined to survive and kill the terrorists.
Lively’s performance is complex and tortured as she learns the expensive price for revenge is the loss of your own humanity. She becomes student and soldier. There is a brilliant and soon-to-be classic car chase.
What sets this film apart from others in this genre is Stephanie’s inner turmoil and guilt. She confesses that her family was not supposed to be on that flight. They changed their plans so she could join them. And she chose not to go with them and they flew without her.