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“The Rhythm Section,” Reed Morano’s new espionage thriller about a female assassin who sets out to avenge her family’s untimely death, is not a female-led approximation of a “James Bond” film.
Though Barbara Broccoli, the magnate producer whose family has been solely responsible for the franchise, is producing the movie, “The Rhythm Section” is decidedly not a “James Bond” wannabe. The protagonist, played by an eminently versatile Blake Lively, receives her training as an assassin from an exiled MI6 agent living in Scotland, and — in the course of her revenge — disguises herself as a chemical blonde one moment and a German anarchist the next.
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“Everyone’s saying, ‘Oh, can a woman be James Bond?’ Why would a woman want to be James Bond!” Broccoli asked, walking the red carpet at a special screening of “The Rhythm Section” in New York City on Monday evening, hoping to dispel the constant chatter that the “Bond” producer was up to something tricky. “A woman wants to be Stephanie Patrick, a complex, interesting character.”
“The Rhythm Section,” based on Mark Burnell’s thriller novel of the same name, tells the story of a young woman tortured by the death of her family in a terror-driven plane crash. Bent on a path toward self-destruction, the imperfect, cunning and surely not trained spy named Stephanie embarks on a revenge mission after she learns the crash was no accident. Directed by Morano, “The Rhythm Section” marks the latest in an encouraging trend of movies — including Brie Larson in “Captain Marvel,” Anya Taylor-Joy and Maisie Williams in “New Mutants” and Charlize Theron in everything from “Atomic Blonde” to “Mad Max” — that place strong female roles at the heart of action thrillers.
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“I really wanted to see a woman who felt like an attainable persona, not some Barbie doll in stiletto...
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