Updated: Dec 13, 2020
Ava tells the story of a professional assassin, the best in her line of work. Ava is meticulous in her craft, unstoppable and deadly, but when a job goes wrong, her whole world starts spinning out of control. She doesn’t know if she has become a target herself and she’s not sure who to trust while trying to make amends with the people in her life who seem to be making everything even more difficult.
Judging by the movie poster, this is supposed to be an action flick, and I guess, strictly speaking, it could be described as such. However, the movie wants to tell so many side stories that are supposed to give the context of Ava’s character, that it loses itself. Ava’s relationship with her passive-aggressive mother, sister, and an ex, who’s dating her sister now, as well as Ava’s past addiction, are all convincing. They really do provide an excellent insight into why she struggles so much with her past.
Don't know what to watch? Subscribe for a free streaming guide to all popular OTT services from Netflix and Hulu to Showtime and Disney+
The problem is, in an attempt to give us this insight, the movie loses its course and fails to develop and deliver an actual action plot. I guess this could be attributed to the director’s desire to avoid the typical cliche action movie plots, but it loses the balance and the viewer is left confused with what it is that the movie is actually trying to accomplish. It’s also not very difficult to assume from the beginning who’s the bad guy and what the ending will be like.
It seems like the parts that deal with Ava’s job was subsequently added in between the ones that deal with her problematic relationships just because it is supposed to be an action movie. The family drama takes too much space for an action film. While it is developed and it does serve the story, it causes the balance of the movie to shift as the supporting elements become more important and engaging than the main ones. The action part of the plot is unconvincing and unauthentic, especially the fighting scenes, leaving the viewer not caring too much about that side of the story and instead of wanting to focus on the family drama.
It seems that this movie is proof that a great actor will do an amazing job, even if the script is less than stellar. Unfortunately, it also proves that a movie with a bad script can easily bring down an otherwise great actor. The former one being Jessica Chastain, arguably one of the best actresses of her generation shows herself to be a surprisingly good fit for the main role in an action movie. This also raises the question of why she chose to overlook so many yellow and red flags in the script.
Even with the lack of many elements, Chastain manages to show her talent as she portrays Ava in such a way, that it almost distracts the viewer from the rest of the movie, which is a good thing. She succeeds in painting Ava as a vulnerable, struggling woman with a lot of loose ends who finds solace in her dangerous work. In fact, this would have been a very positive review if the goal was to dissect and analyze Ava’s character and Chastain’s acting delivery.
The same couldn’t be said about her co-stars, Colin Farrell and John Malkovich. Personally, I wasn’t expecting too much of Farrell, even though he does have some great roles under his belt. His character was quite flat and unconvincing, maybe it was because his mustache looks like they were drawn with a sharpie, or maybe it was simply because he didn’t take this part very seriously.
Seeing Malkovich’s lazy acting was a bit disappointing. It’s like he was fully aware of how mediocre the entire film would be so he decided to just stand there and deliver the lines with no effort. The charisma he’s well known for is nowhere to be seen and his usual quirkiness which makes him such a delight to watch was completely absent. It could have been any unknown face in the place of his, the result would be the same. Geena Davis, who plays Ava’s mother did a decent job, you actually feel Ava’s frustration with every interaction they have and her desire not to be around her mother any longer than she has to be.
The ironic part is if this were just a drama movie, and the action scenes weren’t in the film, it would’ve made a pretty solid story about a woman who’s doing her best to keep her head above the surface while her misdeeds and demons from the past are affecting her present. It would appear that the movie was relying too much on the experience and names of its cast to fill in the void of lazy writing, predictable plot, and cliche dialogues.
Like this review? Subscribe for more!