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The Rhythm Section Trailer: An Assassin’s Lookbook

What has to be the final trailer for Blake Lively’s revenge thriller The Rhythm Section has hit and, faithful to the book, it looks to be a kaleidoscope of outfit changes and ludicrous wigs. Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh (Becoming Jane, The Guard, Little Women for TV) is on costume design duties for this one.

Not to be all ‘we’ve read the book’ but, well, we have and, to be honest, it’s not that brilliant. However, the story zips along nicely and does features a compelling female lead. Being as Mark Burnell wrote The Rhythm Section in 1999, it’s astonishing that filmmakers have dragged their feet this long in getting a movie made. Perhaps one of the most interesting parts of the book is just how creepily close it comes to predicting the events of 9/11 in New York. To say any more would be spoiler territory, but if this trailer is anything to go by, the film, which is adapted by the original author, may be skipping over that element (possibly wise) and just sticking with slick, inoffensive potboiler instead.

Stephanie Patrick is nearly ten years younger than actress Blake Lively in The Rhythm Section book. Whether they age the character up or Lively down remains to be seen. It’s not conclusive from the trailer.

What does all this mean costume design wise? In the book (god that phrase is annoying) Lively’s character, Stephanie Patrick, is an average Jane who is out for vengeance after her innocent family were wiped out by a terrorist attack. She undergoes several incarnations before becoming a badass killing machine and then several more afterward as she adopts different personas to reach her targets. In the book (kill us now) she starts the story as a prostitute working for a London gangster, drug addled and basically waiting to die. Then she is given the opportunity for revenge by a ‘shadowy agency’, gets schooled in the art of death wearing chunky knitwear and a turquoise beanie, and once trained becomes a deadly assassin sporting expensive lippy and a nice line in coats. Actually, the trailer does lean heavily into Blake Lively’s typical look on screen, i.e, for want of a better phrase, masculine inspired. Lots of top buttoned-up collared shirts, similar, though way more subtle, to her costumes in A Simple Favor (2018), and in real life too come to that.

The Rhythm Section differs from the James Bond and Jason Bourne series of films primarily because Stephanie is a master of disguise, or more accurately a master of taking on different lives and juggling them in order to assassinate people. Interestingly though, the trailer makes a big thing out of this movie being FROM THE PRODUCERS OF JAMES BOND so they are clearly vying for a franchise, and with three more Stephanie Patrick books already published, if all goes well they’ll surely have one.

Check out the trailer below:

The Rhythm Section is released on 31st January.

© 2020, Lord Christopher Laverty.