Saturday, January 12, 2013

Jack Reacher

Being a massive fan of the books I was always going to be very critical of the Jack Reacher movie.
The ninth book in the series, One Shot, is the book that has been adapted and while it may seem strange to start at book nine it's one of the books that always seemed like it would make a good film.
And it does.
First to the casting of Tom Cruise. I was against him as Reacher and I still am. I would have thought someone like Adam Baldwin would have made an ideal Reacher but we're stuck with Cruise.
To give him some credit, Cruise plays Reacher very well but he just simply isn't Reacher. He's not imposing enough and he doesn't have the presence that Reacher commands.
One Shot, or Jack Reacher as the movie is called, opens with five people being randomly slain by a sniper.
Very quickly James Barr (Joseph Sikora) is arrested in a seemingly open and shut case. Except that he won't admit to the crime and has one simple request - 'get Jack Reacher'.
As it happens, Reacher sees his arrest on television and sets straight off to find him. When he arrives, much to the relief of Barr's lawyer, he says he's not there to save him he's there to bury him.
If you've read One Shot you'll know they have left out two major characters from the movie and at least one of them, Rosemary Barr, I think was necessary to have in the film. She's the one that appeals to Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike) to take on her brother's case when nobody else will and she is also crucial to uncovering the link between her brother and other major characters in the movie.
Without her it seems all a bit too disjointed as far as narrative goes.
I know movies and books are different and while Lee Child, who has a cameo in the movie, has said he writes the books and others can write the movies I think he should have insisted on Rosemary's inclusion.Having said all of this I do think this is an excellent adaptation of the book, it unfolded as I imagined when I was reading it and while the ending is a fair bit different it still didn't leave me unsatisfied.
Australian actor Jai Courtney is pretty good in his role as Charlie, the right hand man as it were to The Zec (Werner Herzog), the book/film's villain who is poorly explained in the movie.
If you're a fan of the Jack Reacher book series then you've probably already seen the movie and have an opinion on Tom Cruise - probably similar to mine. If you haven't read them, I'd recommend the books as they are easy reads and are never dull. Start with Killing Floor, the first book.
A comment on something I read in a newspaper review regarding the timing of the release of this film not long after the school shooting in America. Shame on the reviewer for connecting the tragic events there with the release of Jack Reacher.
As for the film, an 8 out of 10, and I hope they do more but Cruise will NEVER be Reacher.

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