Jessica Chastain has built up a well earned reputation as one of the finest actresses of her generation, delivering a series of acclaimed performances that have seen her land two Academy Award nominations in the supporting and lead categories for The Help and Zero Dark Thirty respectively, while she won a Golden Globe for Kathryn Bigelow’s gripping military drama and has secured a further five nods for her work.
Although best known for more dramatic fare, the 43 year-old recently took an unexpected detour into action territory by headlining this year’s Ava. As well as playing the title role, Chastain was also heavily involved in the development of the project as one of the producers, although the revenge thriller was hit by some behind the scenes issues after original director Matthew Newton pled guilty to domestic violence charges.
Chastain turned to The Help director Tate Taylor to step in, while Newton remains credited as screenwriter. And as well as the novelty of seeing the leading lady play a deadly assassin in a far cry from her usual output, Ava also boasts a hugely impressive supporting cast that includes John Malkovich, Colin Farrell, Geena Davis and Common.
Unfortunately, however, the movie isn’t very good, and despite Jessica Chastain making for an utterly convincing action heroine and a couple of entertainingly over the top performances from Malkovich and Farrell, Ava is about as formulaic and uninspired as the genre gets. It currently holds a weak Rotten Tomatoes score of just 19%, but poor critical reactions haven’t stopped any number of titles from dominating Netflix’s Top 10 most-watched list, and the streaming service will be hoping that Ava continues that trend when it gets added to the content library next month, on December 7th.