An addict, an army personnel to an assassin, Ava (Jessica Chastain) is a wonder woman who aces any role that she takes on. The film, Ava, streaming on Netflix, titled after her, engages one and makes one clap on the slick fight sequences, but what it doesn’t do is intrigue largely due to the flat plot file.
The story flits between personal and professional life of Ava Faulkner, an ex-trooper who is on a mission to kill. Forty and counting, she is the finest but with one flaw – she loves to engage with her subjects. Not following the command puts her on the wrong side of the ‘management’, which is mighty powerful.
One kill after another till our protagonist is the ‘object’. Bonds in Boston have our Ava chained as she tries to break free of the management’s vicious plot as much as family’s hurtful secrets — there is adultery, daddy issues, sisters in tiff. Like every ‘hero’ (we would like to believe it’s a gender neutral term already), Ava has her heart right in place – beating for her loved ones as much as her subjects. Towards the last few minutes, she tries to figure out if they deserve their end. A pro, she can make it look like a death with natural causes, an accident, or be gentle; what she can’t do is follow protocol.
What clicks — Jessica Chastain obviously, with the likes of Zero Dark Thirty and Interstellar behind her, she isn’t the one to falter. Her action is stupendous and the background score only complements it. As much as the actor-producer Chastain, it’s the background score that sets the mood — revenge, resignation or remorse.
The action scenes, directed by Tate Taylor, who has to his credit The Girl on the Train, are wonderful. The killings needn’t be just bloody and gross! The opening sequence in verdant French greens and the one where Chastain, in Riyadh, is marching her way out the management’s foolproof plan are a spectacle. Duke (John Malkovich) –Simon (Colin Farrell) scene is beautifully set on an island — hydrangeas at the centre of the table to set off the blood and gore.
If action is your genre, Ava is for you. Add to it a fair smattering of heartfelt family dialogues and the mix is wholesome.