Despite being a fan of Tom Cruise, I wasn't keen on watching this film. Until I heard Werner Herzog was playing the villain. Who is Werner Herzog? He is one of the greatest filmmakers ever, studying his films is a cinephile's wet dream. Watching him act on screen, I was reacting with excitement like I would react as if a friend of mine is making his film debut. Herzog's voice over narrations in his documentaries have become iconic (only rivaled by Morgan Freeman's voice). He is a great choice for a villain, his German accent and cold voice fit this character like a glove and he nails it. â€œDid I have a knife in Siberia?â€ he asks diabolically before ordering his henchman to perform a certain act.
Keeping my rant aside. Jack Reacher is based on Lee Child's bestselling series of novels and is a Tom Cruise vehicle. The film is in fact like a paperback novel you would read on a long flight. Jack Reacher engages you in spurts but sadly, it is largely forgettable.
The film begins with a shooting where a sniper guns down an innocent crowd of people. The rest of the film is intriguing as it starts to scratch the surface and understand who did it and why. There is montage involving the background reveal of each of the â€œinnocentsâ€ which is intricately put forth. I have been a fan of Tom Cruise for many years. But this clearly isn't as good as Mission Impossible 1 or 4. Nowhere near Minortity Report (we are only talking about his action films right?). Or even close to the kind of films these were. The action is minimal. This is mainly an investigation picture. Apart from the first scene and the climax, the film oscillates between a bit of action but mainly people talking about why the events unfolded as they did.
I especially liked the way a chase sequence was handled. I cared about what was going on. Instead of using flash-cuts with hip music, this 10 minute sequence fleshes out the space and time to give us enough room to feel a part of it. A friend of mine frustratedly pointed out that there was a distinct lack of music in most of the scenes. I thought it was a nice touch. But did it make enough of a difference to elevate the film from its mediocrity? I couldn't say.
Another scene stealer, alongside Werner Herzog, is Robert Duvall. His banter with Reacher is worth hearing but his role is miniscule. Christopher McQuarrie who wrote the smashing script of The Usual Suspects (1995) isn't exactly a brilliant director but is a competent one. The plot had a lot of meat to be resonant with today's times but wastes that opportunity as it goes down the pulpy road. Jack Reacher is really not a bad film but is it worth recommending? Not really. Probably watch it on DVD, if you have to. I'd rather recommend a Werner Herzog film. Okay then, start with Grizzly Man (2005) and make your way through to Fitzcarraldo (1982) and Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972).view less