Thursday, 6 June 2013

Jack Reacher

"There are four types of people who join the military. 
For some, it's family trade. 
Others are patriots, eager to serve. 
Next you have those who just need a job. 
Than there's the kind who want the legal means of killing other people."

A Novel Idea (An Introduction)
Based on Lee Child's story 'One Shot' and Directed by Christopher McQuarrie (The Way of The Gun) Following the shooting of 5 people seemingly by a former U.S. Army Sniper the accused gunman writes a single note before being mysteriously beaten into a coma "Get Jack Reacher", (Tom Cruise) a former U.S. Army Military Police Corps Officer who since leaving the Army has become a drifter, determined to prove the man's guilt Reacher begins to investigating the shooting with the help of defense attorney Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike) and discovers that the shooting may not have been so random after all and there may to be more to the shooting than there first seemed.

Adapting books into films is a common practice in today's movie industry but the success often varies for every 'The Shawshank Redemption' or 'Shutter Island' there is a 'Alex Cross' or 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen', 
Even the critically acclaimed adaptions such as 'The Lord of the Rings Trilogy' or 'The Shining' find fans of the original source material often be unhappy with the differences made for the sleeker narrative (such as the loss of Tom Bombadil - For the final time he added nothing to the overall plot!) 

So it is no wonder that when Tom Cruise was cast as Jack Reacher fans of Lee Child's novels 
were seemingly annoyed with Reacher towering 6'5 tall while Cruise is 5'7 (At least that is what the internet tells me) many believed he was not the right build and was unable to carry the tough image making him unsuitable for the role and while I have not read any of the Jack Reacher Novels I can understand the desire to protect the image of a character you have grown attached to (I myself am still constantly annoyed about the fact that Idris Elba was dropped for Tyler Perry to play the role of Alex Cross)

So how did the movie turn out and does Tom Cruise make an effective Reacher?

Four Types of People (The Cast)
Tom Cruise has never truly amazed me as an actor, he is competent enough but his acting never really seems to go beyond Tom Cruise as Tom Cruise with many of his characters seeming identical, there are exceptions to this with films like 'Collateral', and  'The Last Samurai', thankfully 'Jack Reacher' turns out not to only be another exception but (in my opinion) Cruise best performance to date with Cruise brilliantly portraying Reacher as a man who simply will not be stopped in his quest for justice no matter what is thrown at him, 
Also displaying a detective approach similar to Marv's from 'Sin City' - "When I need to find something out, I just go out and find somebody that knows more than me, and I go and I ask them. Sometimes I ask pretty hard." and yet Reacher also possessive a keen insight into the human mind as seen in a sequence in which he is able to effortlessly reveal a link between two of the victims as well as a strong knowledge of military procedure. 

 I was born in October; when I get to my birthday I'm going to pull the trigger.
Rosamund Pike also delivers a strong performance as defense attorney Helen Rodin who is assigned the helpless case of defending the man accused of the shooting and brings Reacher in to look at the evidence, spending much of the film as the withdrawn Reacher's only real link to both the case and the world in general. 
There is also am enjoyable romantic (but not really) back and forth between the two which while failing to really lead anywhere supplies enjoyable banter.

In fact the acting throughout the movie is strong from every performer from the main names to the minor characters with other noteworthy characters are Robert Duvall's Gun Shop owner and former U.S Marine Sergeant Cash and Jai Courtney who  makes for a strong primary antagonist and all round bad guy as Charlie the main henchman. 

Conspiracy Anyone? (The Twists and Turns of the Plot)
Now I have always enjoyed a good Thriller/Conspiracy movie and I hold films like 'State of Play', 'Enemy of the State' and 'Edge of Darkness' in high regard as the twists and turns that these types of movies are able to produce are more shocking than in any other genre each one both attempting to catching you completely off guard while driving the story forward. 
and Jack Reacher may be one of the best Conspiracy Movies (How's that for a Poster Quote?) with the attention to detail being nothing short of utterly astounding, the narrative progressing at a natural pace and action scene perfectly positioned in the story to make sure the film never becomes to wordy. 
The story of Jack Reacher features some interesting turns, less about the overall scheme itself and instead largely involve just how far the culprits of the shooting are willing to go in order to protect their identities and force Reacher to back off.
There is also another "which of these two are in on the scheme twist" as previously seen in 'Salt' but this one at least manages to be unexpected.

Five Victims, One Shot. (Attention to Detail) 
The opening sequence in which the Sniper arrives at the location he intends to shoot from, sets up his equipment and begins spotting for targets is so well executed that each moment that pass, each action he performs builds the suspense towards the inevitability of him pulling the trigger, and leaves you hoping that at least a few of his intended victims can get away.
To pace a scene as effectively as that takes skill and it plays out in a way that seems to haunt you for the rest of the film every time it cuts back to just before the time of the shooting.
I hate snipers, If you're going to kill someone at least have the decency to be in the same room. 
Another example of this attention to detail can be seen in the films later car chase sequence in which Reacher flees from the cops driving Chevy Chevelle Muscle Car in what turns out to be one of the greatest car chase sequence in today's cinema with Tom Cruise doing all his own driving stunts not only is it a exciting and gripping scene it is incredibly well shot and executed right down to a sequence in which the car stalls and Reacher struggling to get it started again being improvised after the car actually stalled. 

The action is impressive throughout with great car chases, gun battles and hand to hand combat sequences. The final confrontation (a shootout in a quarry in heavy rain) plays out brilliantly, part sneaking mission, part sniper battle making for an incredibly tense showdown. 
In fact the films only real flaw is that the ending sequence feels a little rushed with a minor plot threads left seemingly unresolved (or at least suggested to be resolved but not fully explained how) but alas that is what sequels are for right? 

Exile. (Conclusions) 
So all in all I think that Jack Reacher is a phenomenal movie that completely caught me off guard (I went into the film not really knowing what to expect) and I was rewarded by a gripping and incredibly well shot movie with enough twist and turns to keep me guessing from start to finish, I left feeling incredibly satisfied and I can only hope that fans of Lee Child's novels did so too.
That's 'Jack Reacher' author Lee Child himself behind the desk.

1 comment:

  1. I still think someone like the Rock would've made a better Jack Reacher. If you've read the books, it was a big disappointment to see the character be cast so far from the description in the book.