Review – Jack Reacher
The most common complaint I hear about Tom Cruise (aside from Scientology and that he jumps on couches) is that he only plays one character: Tom Cruise. People say that he is not a good actor because all he ever does is play himself on screen. For the most part, I have to agree. A lot of his movies have suffered because of his acting. In Jack Reacher though, it may have been a benefit, and that casting Cruise was a good idea. Jack Reacher is military veteran who has decided to go “off the map”. He has no address, he has no phone, he has no drivers license. He travels from town to town by bus, and he collects his directly deposited pension and converts it to money orders. Once a top army criminal investigator, Reacher is now a ghost until he finds himself at the centre of a mystery that requires his investigative instinct, tenacity and toughness to solve.
A sniper kills five seemingly unconnected, innocent people in Pittsburgh, and the police wrap the case up in record time, compiling evidence that points to James Barr, a former Army sniper with a disturbing past and ties to Reacher. Instead of asking for a lawyer, Barr asks for Jack Reacher, for reasons we learn later on in the film. On his way to prison, Barr is beaten into a coma, and the story of this sniper makes it to the national news, and that’s how Reacher hears about it. Hopping a bus, he heads for the scene of the crime and soon becomes a volunteer investigator for Barr’s attorney, Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike). Now Reacher and Rodin find themselves digging deeper into a web of conspiracy as Reacher is threatened, attacked, followed and chased along the course of his investigation.
I’ve never read any of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels, but now I’ll probably have to. Just add it to my ever increasing “to read” pile that already consists of Donald Westlake’s Parker novels, the Percy Jackson series, Ender’s Game, and the rest of the Game of Thrones series….my eyes are already hurting. Why do I want to read the books now (or at least one of them)? Because the movie was incredibly entertaining. There was a lot of action, a compelling story with several twists, well developed characters, and (surprise) excellent performances. You know I love a well written story above all else, but I’m also a sucker for a good car chase and attractive blondes, Jack Reacher had both. Makes me wish my lawyer looked like Rosamund Pike… He doesn’t.
That being said, both Cruise and Pike delivered excellent performances. As I usually do after watching a movie, and writing up these reviews, I hit the good old IMDb and confirmed my suspicions that I knew Rosamund Pike from somewhere else, but couldn’t put a finger on it. Turns out, she’s in The World’s End, the last film in the Cornetto trilogy, by Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost; a film I definitely need to see. Robert Duvall puts in an appearance as the owner of a gun range that has connections to the suspect and the conspiracy surrounding him, and rounding out the cast was veteran character actor Richard Jenkins playing District Attorney Rodin, (yes his character is the father of the defence attorney). I’ve always enjoyed Jenkin’s performances and he delivered another quality one in Jack Reacher. I’ve found that sometimes the supporting cast can stand out more than the main star; that’s great for them, but can make the overall movie experience suffer. Fortunately, Tom Cruise hit the nail on the head in his performance as Reacher. A lot of fans were complaining before the movie was released that Cruise (5’6″) could not play the hero of their novels as he’s described as a 6’5″ powerhouse, I think that most of those critics were silenced after viewing the film.
The film grossed $80 million with an estimated budget of $60 million, so hopefully that means there will be future Jack Reacher films.