If you were to consider the fact that Tom Cruise is nothing but a thrill seeker that likes to express it by playing characters that are larger than life in films like Mission Impossible (1996), Days of Thunder (1990), and the ever homo-erotic Top Gun (1986). You might be pleasantly surprised with this stylish detective-like adaption of Lee Child’s One Shot that feels like a modern day neo noir in tradition of John Huston’s Maltese Falcon (1941).
When five random people are shot and killed in what looks like Manhattan, the suspect is arrested and locked up within sixteen hours, a record time to convict for any crime. James Barr (Joseph Sikora), the accused shooter tells the District Attorney Rodin (Richard Jenkins) and Partner Emerson (David Oyelowo) to get Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise). However, Barr’s defense attorney is none other than the DA’s daughter Helen (Rosamund Pike), whom believes that he is guilty, but wants him off death row. Reacher makes it known that he’s here to make sure Barr pays for his heinous crime, given his violent past in the military. Reacher, a military man himself, knows the type of psychopath Barr is and begins looking further into the incident with Helen and discovers some things just don’t add up.
With a clean record and military past to boot Reacher proves to be just the perfect investigator for such a crime, the problem is Reacher is a ghost and doesn’t show up until he’s wanted. Despite, Reacher’s intentions to make sure that Barr pays the price, he’s seeking the truth and proves to be just a good ol’ boy that wants to be left alone.
Jack Reacher is certainly a film that by today’s standards simply isn’t made anymore, rarely do you see a film that is strictly driven by dialogue and a willingness to search for the truth in such a compelling way.
Although Jack Reacher didn’t fare well at the box office, it proves to be a great vehicle for Tom Cruise that isn’t to over-the-top while keeping a nice balance between action hero and man in search of truth. Tom Cruise turns in another great performance that is just the right level between investigator and forensic genius that gives a there-for-the-grace-of-god like presence throughout the film.
Rosamund Pike is also fantastic as the ambitious defense attorney with daddy issues and establishes her presence with just the right tone that isn’t to smart or endearing as she does prove to be a potential love interest for Reacher. Along the way Reacher meets a man named Cash, an excellent Robert Duvall, that proves to be a worthy ally and; Director Werner Herzog, an excellent filmmaker in his own right, stops by as Zec the film’s rather scary and disfigured villain. Herzog was certainly an excellent choice and proves to be a great villain that has a presence and backstory that many of today’s antagonists’ lack.
Jack Reacher is also one of those movies that were a surprise to see green lit, taking into account the many school shootings that occurred around its release and recently the Boston Bombings; its opening scene is incredibly violent seen through the sniper scope of the gun and eyes of the man whom downs his victims. It’s a strong and brutal opening unlike anything seen before including war movies that feature snipers as the protagonist. Jack Reacher is one hell of a movie that shouldn’t be missed, with strong performances from all of its lead actors and with a Neo-noirish feel to that canvasses the entire film, its certainly one for the film history books. Bar none.