Ava should have focused on its human drama aspect, rather than force-include an utterly unnecessary villain.
Ava Faulkner is an accomplished assassin recovering from alcoholism and complex family issues. When she repeatedly exhibits symptoms indicating that she’s slipping back into depression/drinking, her agency decides to terminate her, though her handler tries to intervene. She is ultimately forced into a showdown with everything that has tormented her for years.
Yesterday evening, before heading to the cinema, I did a quick search online and saw a slew of negative reviews for Ava.
None surprise me. Whatever I’ve read or seen so far about this movie suggested it’s the usual super-assassin business. In other words, full of eye-catching sleek action, but unlikely to be memorable for long in spite of the big names involved.
Frankly, I only bought the tickets because there was nothing else more interesting to watch.
It turned out not what I expected, and I don’t mean this in a bad way. After a rather cliché opening, the story delved into Ava’s background, revealing details that were not unusual but nonetheless, still intriguing. While this change in tone might sound insipid in writing, I thought the story brought on a certain freshness. For a start, here was an assassin with a very believable background, struggling with very common issues. That, in turn, infused the story with a certain realism. One that I was keen to know more about.
Alas, most of what’s attractive soon unravels. This, brought on by the indecision to be action or human drama. The incomprehensible motives of the main villain aside, Ava never did resolve the issues she’s fighting with. It’s more a case of her embracing the tragedies, so that the action can take over.
To “quote” a certain scene from the show, John Malkovich’s character was baffled by Ava’s continuing dilemmas. He urged his protégé to just do the job and get out.
In the same way, I was baffled by the decision to involve some many themes in the movie. A much simpler story would have been far better.