Dr William Harford (Tom Cruise) is highly respected in New York, has a beautiful wife, Alice (Nicole Kidman) and a rarely seen child. But when, stoned, she over-reacts to his comments and then admits that she was once attracted to someone else, his life goes off the rails. He stumbles into a world of sexuality and intrigue, culminating in sneaking in to a massive, mysterious sex-party/weirdo cult event. After being discovered, he tries to find out more but realises that his life and his family may be in danger.
I recall seeing this at the cinema back when it was first released. It was exciting – a new Kubrick, with the golden couple that was our Nic and her superstar husband, Tom. Even those who perhaps didn’t really love Tom or Nic could surely get something out of a Kubrick masterpiece? All I remembered prior to this viewing was a lot of nude women and men in masks and cloaks, and a very annoying sound track consisting of two notes on a piano. And hating it, thinking it was terrible and a waste of time. Sometimes, it is not worth revisiting bad films.
There was so little to enjoy about this film. The writing was awful; the conversations stilted and unrealistic, the sense of danger came from nowhere. I did not believe any of the characters would behave as they did. What’s more, I couldn’t understand why, if William was so keen on discovering more, he would suddenly stop looking when he did. The acting was terrible, especially Nicole Kidman’s portrayal of drunken and/or stoned sexuality that was almost painful to watch. The film runs for 159 minutes, and I think about at least half of that were long, static shots of people’s faces as they barely react to things. Kubrick was wonderful, but obviously, not always.
If you like reading action novels and you don’t know who Jack Reacher is, get yourself to the library or a bookshop and become acquainted. He’s fantastic- ex-military cop with a very strong sense of right and wrong and justice. Since leaving the army, he has become a drifter. He carries little cash and no luggage, and always manages to get into trouble. Big, loud trouble with lots of death and injuries and guns. If you are unsure, he is awesome. I’d highly recommend reading the Wikipedia entry on this character – it’s very detailed. For example: “Physical appearance : Reacher is 6′ 5″ tall (1.96 m) with a 50-inch chest, and weighing between 210 and 250 pounds (100–115 kg). He has ice-blue eyes and dirty blond hair. He has very little body fat, and his muscular physique is completely natural (he reveals in Persuader, he has never been an exercise enthusiast). He is exceptionally strong, has a high stamina, but is not a good runner. He is also, allegedly, quite a handful in the bedroom.”
So, looking at an actor to play a massive strong action man, who would you pick? Bruce Willis? Too short. Liam Neeson? Too old. Chris Hemsworth? Maybe too young, but could pull it off, I reckon. Alexander Skarsgard? Perhaps too pretty. Surely it has got to go to someone big. Who did they get? Tom Cruise. Yup, all 170cms of him. I do really like Tom Cruise in a good action film – I wouldn’t want anyone else to be Ethan Hunt in the Mission Impossible films. But Reacher? Nope. He just couldn’t measure up.
What’s the plot? The film is based on One Shot, which by my calculations is the ninth Jack Reacher book. There has been a sniper attack with six random victims. All the evidence clearly points to one suspect. However, this suspect will not confess, simply asks for Jack Reacher. Reacher arrives in town (having seen reports of the case on the news) with the intention of ensuring the accused is convicted. However, he is employed by the defense to investigate and uncovers a much larger conspiracy.
It’s great as a book, but the problem with the plot in the film is that many of the aspects that are used in it have been seen many times on any number of cop TV shows. Between this and the miscasting of Tom Cruise and Rosamund Pike (she was great but she didn’t work in this role for me), and I just plain disliked this film. Thank goodness there were a lot of running and fighting scenes, or there would have been no point to the film at all.