Directed by Chris McQuarrie
Written by Chris McQuarrie, [from a Lee Child novel ‘One Shot’]
Starring: Tom Cruise, Werner Herzog, Richard Jenkins, Rosamund Pike,
In the middle of a busy city a sniper sets himself up and shoots five random victims dead. Before too long the police have identified and arrested the perpetrator in what seems an open and shut case. The accused shooter writes down that he wants Jack Reacher before he is beaten into a coma on a prison bus. When Jack Reacher turns up to help out the defence he surprises them by insisting the man is guilty and he can ‘fry’. Then Jack investigates and the more he looks the more intriguing and less open and shut the case seems…
There was a lot of fuss on the Internet when this film was cast as a certain Mr. Tom Cruise who is actually shorter than me whilst Jack Reacher is 6 foot 6 inches tall and built like a block of flats. I didn’t know this and have not even heard of the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Childs [I looked them up on Amazon] so in honesty I did not have a view on this. Sometimes Tom Cruise can be great in a film, believable, charismatic and his performance can hold it together, other times he can detract from the film and has clearly had too much say in the casting and direction [despite denials].
I would say in this film he is cast well. I found him believable in the role of an unbelievable character. If it was someone built like ‘Clint Walker’ it would have detracted. Having Cruise, a good looking but averagely built actor, taking this tough-guy loner made Jack Reacher seem more believable or real.
The story was a bit over-the-top with the protagonists doing a whole lot of unnecessary murdering and convoluted machinations to get their way but if they did not do it there would not be a film I guess.
Richard Jenkins should have been used more as he is worth the ticket money for any film on his own and Rosamund Pike made a good fist of the glamorous defence attorney [she did wear a short tight skirt, like they all do] for instance she did not attack Tom Cruise in a gratuitous and illogical sex scene, as this type of character usually does. This was good.
Mr Cruise is clearly in good shape for his age but shirtless his ‘body’ looks a little ‘yuk’ to me. It reminded me of Clint Eastwood films as he got older when he used to strip off for the ‘ladies’ and I could not help to think please put the shirt back on Clint. Well in this instance I was right along with Rosamund when she asked him to put his shirt back on – of course in the film this was because she was getting all hot and bothered by the smooth-skinned torso of Tom.
Me? I’m not so sure but then again I’m not a lady so perhaps I’ve got the whole idea wrong.
Overall, I enjoyed this film, it was preposterous, but then again it was not a historical documentary so I was never going to get on my high-horse. The director and actors tried to change some of the action-crime-film tropes and did a fairly good job. Jack Reacher was tough and experienced but he was not indestructible which I often find annoying with characters in films of this type.
I did figure out the reason for the shootings fairly quickly, not straight away [which is good], but fairly swiftly, it didn’t take too much working out, and I did figure out who the big bad was too but once again not immediately.
Werner Herzog in a rare acting roles was hilarious and so obviously Werner Herzog as soon as you hear him. Even better the film makers managed to drag Robert Duvall out of retirement to play in his usual great style, an entertaining if somewhat slightly unrealistic character. You may have guessed I liked the casting in this film.
I would recommend this film for a Sunday afternoon when there is nothing else to do. Just do not expect your mind to be blown or to be confused and wondering what is going on if you pay attention.