That’s right. When a man with a shady past is falsely accused of a horrific trail of murders through a seamless set up, all he can do to save himself is request the one person who can save him. Just before he ends up in a coma, he scribbles the words: “Get Jack Reacher” on a pad of paper. And before he knows it, former Army cop turned vigilante justice seeker, Jack Reacher shows up to save the day.
Tom Cruise stars and produces the film version of Jack Reacher, which is, of course based on the book series by Lee Child. For the past fifteen years, Child has given the world a total of 17 Jack Reacher novels. The film itself is based on Child’s ninth novel in the series, titled: One Shot, since Child felt it was the most cinematic of all the books.
The story opens with a chilling sequence of how Charlie, a cold-blooded killer, played by Jai Courtney kills five people with equally powerful haunting music to set the mood. As far as the audience knows at that time, the murders are completely random and senselessly ruthless. Yet, we soon see that Charlie uses such a motive to hide the real reason behind his killings. He indeed finds a likely target to pin his crimes on in a war veteran, James Barr (played by Joseph Sikora), who is reportedly known to have strong issues of pent up anger. On top of that, Barr and Reacher knew each other from the army, where they were at odds as being polar opposites. So, why would Reacher help such a guy now? One word: INTEGRITY. Barr knew that Reacher, the former army cop with the utmost code of honor, wouldn’t rest until the right man was punished — even if that meant freeing one of his former enemies.
The story takes the audience through layers upon layers of good writing that truly do keep one’s attention. Yet, fair warning: it is a film with a traditionally testosterone-beefed up mood with quite a bit of violence. Hopefully no one under a certain age is watching. The quality of writing helps balance out the violence with good old fashion mystery suspense. And of course, we cannot forget the huge car chase. It was interesting to see that in that scene, Reacher was trying to lead the police to the real killer, (at least that is what it seemed), with Reacher always one step ahead. Sometimes, the film even had the audience laughing at how Reacher constantly out fools everyone with a smooth demeanor to be admired. Most importantly, Reacher’s integrity overshadows all evil to make things right as is Child’s most important goal.
Yes, Cruise does a great job of portraying Jack Reacher. It is widely known that Jack Reacher’s physical description in the novels is a strikingly tall 6’5” blond character, which of course does not match with Cruise. Many Reacher fans are opposed to Cruise playing the part. But Cruise proves a worthy man for the role, especially those going into the film never having read the novels. Reacher’s character is never arrogant, but effortlessly confident. That is a hard feat to pull off without looking egotistical. Cool job, Cruise.
Another high praise goes to his supporting cast. Rosamund Pike is a refreshingly feminine touch to a nearly all male dominated film. Pike plays the beautiful and smart defense attorney Helen Rodin, representing Barr. She and Cruise tango a bit around a flirtatious love story that although never comes to fruition, is equally scintillating to watch.
David Oyelowo does a great job as the lead detective in the film, standing his own against leading man Cruise. It’s hard to speak of his character’s role without giving too much away. Just know his London Academy training has well paid off.
Last but not least, as mentioned earlier, this preview wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the beautiful film score of composer Joe Kraemer. It is easy to see that he is a graduate from the famed Berklee School of Music. While some films have a backdrop of music that one tends to forget. From the moment of the film’s opening Kraemer makes sure to make you sit up in your seat, pay attention and become enamored with his glorious sounds.
So while many may be going out to see the latest holiday-themed film, don’t forget to buckle your seat belt and take on the film about a man with a mission to seek truth and justice for us all to continue to enjoy the season safe and free.
-Written by: Stephanie Andolino
Watch the JACK REACHER Clip – Eluding the Police