CHENNAI: Netflix’s latest drop, “Ava,” tells a sordid story of murder and mayhem, laced with love and longing.
Ava Faulkner, essayed with deadpan coldness by Jessica Chastain, was not born to kill, but is forced to run away and drown her familial sorrow in drink and drugs — there are some serious father-daughter issues at play here.
It was not easy for her to beat the bottle, it was even harder to abandon her family and fiance, Michael (played by the rapper and actor Common).
She disappears from her home in Boston for eight years, joins the army, and later drops out of it to become a globe-trotting paid assassin, trained to lure her victims to death.
Her early story emerges later, and a gripping prologue sees Ava as a blonde-wigged cabbie do away with her target in a move that viewers see coming, but is shocking, nonetheless.
Her next assignment is to bump off a German general with a lethal injection, but the operation goes horribly wrong — as was to be expected in a film that scores fairly low on the originality scale.
The plot follows her as she flies after this botched-up assignment to Barneville-Carteret, in France, to meet her mentor and boss, Duke (John Malkovich), and his second-in-command, Simon (Colin Farrell).
What gives an ounce of depth to the largely lifeless story is Ava’s troubled conscience which gnaws at her — she begins to question whether the men she murdered deserved it and this pushes her into having conversations with her targets, an absolute no-no in her business.
Simon is extremely unhappy about this, but Duke’s fatherly affection does not go beyond a mild reprimand — in fact, a mild script hampers the film as a whole, with no real meat for viewers to sink their teeth into.
The film has superbly choreographed fight sequences between Simon and Duke, as well as Ava and her enemies, but it seems director Tate Taylor chose to rely too heavily on the slick action at the cost of a storyline that is worth following.
Despite the quality production values and stylish choreography of “Ava,” there is not much of a story or a character arch to take home.