AVA (2020) Reviews and overview of Jessica Chastain action thriller

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‘Kill. Or be killed.’

Ava is a 2020 American action thriller about a deadly female assassin who works for a black ops organization specializing in high-profile hits. When a job goes dangerously wrong she is forced to fight for her own survival.

Directed by Tate Taylor (The Girl on the Train) from a screenplay written by Matthew Newton (Who We Are Now; From Nowhere),

The Freckle Films-Voltage Pictures production stars Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell, John Malkovich, Common, Geena Davis and Colin Farrell.

The synth soundtrack score was composed by Bear McCreary (EliChild’s PlayGodzilla: King of the Monsters; Hell Fest; Tau; Happy Death Day and sequel).


“It connects for the most part, providing a moviegoing ride and Chastain an opportunity to participate in the genre, making for a terrific gut-rot brutalizer. It’s the rest of Ava that’s a little too shaky at times, in need of more streamlined storytelling to best support dramatic heft and dangerous encounters.” Blu-ray.com

“Not only is it disappointing to see someone of Chastain’s technical ability look rather silly, Taylor makes sure she’s not alone by including the likes of Malkovich and Farrell; the pair, who are both supreme talents in their own right, are clearly here for the pay check, which wasn’t enough to sully both their names as it does. Still, you have to give Taylor credit for getting the pair into a truly bizarre tussle…” Boom

” …pervasive sloppiness is damaged further by a self-serious tonality, which only works to further damages the apparent hiccups onscreen (the only fun comes from a so-bad-its-good fistfight between Colin Farrell and John Malkovich, which features an apparent use of stunt doubles). Jessica Chastain stands strong as an action star, but Ava‘s misguided execution lies beneath her abilities.” BRWC

“Superbly-cast and visually nifty, yet completely generic, ultimately soulless and depressingly moody, not only Taylor’s sloppily put together ‘top female assassin’ crime thriller features some heavy-handed and mostly clumsily-choreographed fight scenes, proving that Chastain, though extremely talented, is by no means a real action star…” CineMarvellous!

“It would seem all of Ava’s budget went on casting and whilst those in the film play their roles well their is little for them to get their teeth into. Instead we are left with a movie that is basically a driftwood. It gets there in the end but you have probably stopped caring when it does.” Cult Faction

“Overall, it is worth a look, though its insistence on trying to insert dramatic conflicts into a vehicle that doesn’t need them, becomes increasingly annoying as the movie progresses. When it’s not doing so, however, it is a slick, Bourne-like entity, providing a decent vehicle for Chastain to show off her action credentials. as well as her already-known acting skills.” Girls with Guns

“Chastain is utterly convincing in another tough-as-nails role. If audiences stick with the movie, it’s largely thanks to her movie-star charisma, which almost compensates for the increasingly ridiculous plot. Malkovich and Farrell seem to understand they are A-list talent in B-movie roles and relish the opportunity” The Hollywood Reporter

“Only the biggest Jessica Chastain fans will enjoy this as Ava spins its wheels in no real direction and with no real sense of satisfaction for the audience. Ava doesn’t just kill people, Ava (the movie) kills any hope of suspense. Skip unless you’re addicted to palindromes.” Hub Pages

“The problem is that neither the action thriller nor the family drama is worth the effort. Being cut into chunks and stapled together like some kind of hideous Frankenstein’s genre monster only disservices both, and the resultant hybrid is too ungainly for the talent both in front of and behind the camera to really navigate. Malkovich and Farrell smartly latch onto the film’s B-movie ridiculousness and make the most of their scenes together…” Ready Steady Cut!

“Ava’s somewhat watchable atmosphere is due entirely to its compelling action sequences and strong supporting performances, with, in terms of the latter, Colin Farrell’s often captivating turn as Ava’s boss’ boss smoothing over deficiencies within the narrative and ensuring that the movie is, in the end, more entertaining than it has any right to be.” Reel Film Reviews

“Outside of Chastain showing off her chops as an action-hero, up to including the expectedly brutal face-off with Simon (minus the curiously inert conclusion), there’s little reason to give Ava more than a passing, indifferent glance on the new releases section of whatever VOD service Ava finds itself this weekend and in the immediate future.” Screen Anarchy

“Chastain, at least, proves to be a compelling presence, as she admirably tries to elevate the flimsy, one-note material—most notably in later scenes where her subtle expressions convey Ava’s failing attempts to fight back the emotions that are getting the better of her projected stoicism. But the performance isn’t worthy of the film, which is likely to leave audiences wondering how it even managed to attract so much A-level talent.” Slant magazine

” …lack of characterisation is then followed by some of the most awkward dialogue that I have seen in a film this year. It honestly feels like they didn’t spend any time in rehearsal and then locked that first take and moved on. You then compile this with story inconsistencies that you could drive a semi through, and you get the final narrative.” TL; DR Reviews


Ava will be released online on August 25th 2020 in Canada and August 27th in the UK. A US release will follow on September 25th 2020.

Cast and characters:

Jessica Chastain … Ava
John Malkovich … Duke
Common … Michael
Colin Farrell … Simon
Geena Davis
Ioan Gruffudd … Peter
Joan Chen
Diana Silvers
Jess Weixler
Janelle Feigley … Dancer
Rob Lévesque … Panicked Father
Omar Khan … Hotel Guest
Matt Lindquist … Actor
Nadezhda Russo … Simon’s wife
Lin Hultgren … German Embassy Guest

Technical details:

96 minutes


Not to be confused with the film of the same name by Sadaf Foroughi.

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