Starring: Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell, John Malkovich
Director: Tate Taylor
Running Time: 97 mins
Ava is an American film about an international assassin who finds herself fighting for survival after a botched hit, as a brutal man sets his sights on ending her in the most ruthless manner possible.
A largely underwhelming attempt to capitalise on a string of recent action thrillers starring female assassins, Ava lacks the charisma, urgency or tension to really excite, proving a generally bland affair from start to finish.
There’s a lot that’s disappointing about Ava, and one of the biggest let-downs comes in the form of its cast. Starring A-listers Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell and John Malkovich among others, the performances here are far from any of the actors’ best, symptomatic of both a middling screenplay and a clear lack of passion for the subject matter.
What’s frustrating about Ava is that it seems to think that you can just throw a few A-listers together, have a couple of action sequences and you’ve got a great assassin thriller. The reality, however, is that this film totally lacks the energy from its leads, eye-catching style from its director and emotional depth from its screenplay to really grab you.
In the lead role, Chastain is perfectly likable, but she never fills the role of a super international assassin to perfection. This certainly isn’t Chastain’s best performance, and although she entertains with some good action, she’s far from the riveting and mesmerising lead that she is at her best.
What’s more, however, is that her character is as bland as anything, and there’s very little that Chastain can do to really engage you in her story. The overarching screenplay here is entirely generic, but with a good bit of character depth or an interesting back story, the film could have managed to bring a little more than just basic action and generic thrills to the table.
There’s an attempt to engage you in the character’s personal life as we see her constantly at odds with her sister, but the arguments they find themselves are far more bickering than genuinely resonant, only distancing you further from caring about the character when it should be bringing you closer.
As a result, Ava is far from the great action thriller or story that it often wants to be. Yes, there are a couple of entertaining action sequences, but it’s mostly a dull affair with little to write home about. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 5.8 overall.