“Jack Reacher” is a terrific and very enjoyable action thriller.
It brings together many of my favourite things. The outsider hero-type first imprinted on my brain via Clint Eastwood in “Rawhide” when I was tiny. I adore the Dirty Harry movies, Bullitt and traditional crime movies from the 1960s and 1970s.
The portents were not good. Tom Cruise as the Very Tall Jack Reacher? My favourite Lee Child book – One Shot – made into a movie directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who is a fabulous screenwriter but not so much a super director? And I am not a Tom Cruise fan, to put it mildly?
And yet, it’s been awhile since I enjoyed a movie this much and Cruise wowed me in this role. Every scene fizzes with homage to the great crime thrillers and film noir genre, yet it wears that pedigree gently and with enormous entertainment value.
Rosamund Pike as Helen Rodin nails an American accent and makes you forget that she is much taller than Cruise. Yes, there is clever camera work done to disguise this, but you still notice.
Cruise and Pike have amazing chemistry. They really share that rare Bogart/Bacall energy.
And it’s just utterly great to have Pike as a strong character, with little of the “damsel in distress” business that plagues female sidekicks in the movies.
The car chase scenes and the fights are among the very best on film.
Plot? A gunman has killed five people in an apparently open-and-shut case. The chief suspect is at home with loads of evidence against him.
The viewer knows he is being framed because we saw the real killer in the opening scenes. The chief suspect asks for Jack Reacher.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania isn’t seen that often on the big screen, compared with New York or Los Angeles. I really like the way the city is used as the backdrop to this story. It becomes an extra character.
Of the supportung cast, Richard Jenkins, David Oyelowo, Joseph Sikora and Jai Courtney have super moments.
Werner Herzog is the chief bad guy and he works very chillingly and well in some scenes, but not in others. There is something offbeat about his performance that makes you feel he is in a different and more European film than the rest of the cast.
It makes you think of the best Westerns – one man looking for the truth – and has music and camera work that grab you in every scene.
The very full Stratford East Picturehouse audience was mostly made up of young men and they were engrossed. You can tell this because there is no glow of phones around you. When they pay attention, phones are forgotten, for a brief time.
Christopher McQuarrie and Skydance films have made a fantastic movie, guaranteed to take you into the struggle of the main characters. See it, even if you don’t like Cruise, Pike or McQuarrie. You’ll enjoy this.