starring Blake Lively, Jude Law, Sterling K. Brown, Daniel Mays
screenplay by Mark Burnell, based on his novel
directed by Reed Morano
by Walter Chaw Over a black screen at the start of Reed Morano's The Rhythm Section, we're invited to think of the heartbeat as drums and breathing as the bass accompanying it. I would have swapped them, but either way it works as a symbolic framework to marry film to music, and perhaps the process of making a film to a collaborative endeavour like the frisson between musicians in a band--or the autonomous functions of the body that keep you going even when you're unconscious. When I think about "rhythm" as a metaphor, I think of the various breathing methods and strategies devised to help women through labour. Blame Stephen King's The Breathing Method, the only one of the four novellas from his Different Seasons anthology yet to be adapted for the screen. In it, a young woman has so prepared herself for the birthing process that her head goes through the motions of it even after being separated from her body. The thing to which The Rhythm Section aspires, then, appears to be to create something, or to indeed be something, so drilled and efficient that it operates purely on impulse and instinct.