The film is a cinematic adaptation of Lee Child’s 2005 novel One Shot. Jack Reacher is Child’s successful fictional character from his mystery/thriller novels.
The film opens with a shooting scene which is disturbing since it reminds you of the current gun violence issue plaguing USA. From the suspect claiming innocence to Reacher getting tangled in the conspiracy crime himself, the ‘whodunnit’ drama keeps you engaged.
For those who are unfamiliar with the books, the film does give you a brief backgrounder on Jack Reacher. He’s a drifter, an ex-army guy who ‘prefers to be left alone’ when he’s not investigating tough cases. Highly skilled, possessing extreme intelligence, photographic memory and raw strength, he is a man who lives by his own code of honour.
Does Tom Cruise fit the bill? In the books, Reacher is described as ‘big and tall’ with ice-blue eyes and dirty blonde hair. Tom Cruise bears no physical resemblance to the character. He does not look intimidating or menacing enough for the goons. Thus, much has been said about Cruise being a misfit for the title role.
In Cruise’s defence, he sheds his movie-star image remarkably, to play the stoic fictional hero who may not be as ‘exciting’ as his contemporaries. Reacher knows who he is unlike Jason Bourne, does not have fancy cars, clothes and gadgets like Bond, nor is he a wise-cracking, fast-talking guy like Sherlock.
Cruise, who is otherwise super-expressive as an actor, underplays impressively to portray Reacher. He does justice to the role but on the flipside, you constantly miss Tom Cruise’s charisma. Without it, the film borders on being bland in certain portions.
The villain (played by director Werner Herzog) with his German accent and coloured eyes is creepy. Certain one-liners are impressive while some unintentionally funny.
Action scenes look authentic. There is no loud background score. The highlight is one of the suspenseful car chase sequences, where Reacher is chasing the bad guys while being chased by the cops. It’s been shot brilliantly.
The film is more of a cerebral drama than a fast-paced, modern action flick. The suspense is satisfying and so is Cruise’s ‘true to character’ performance. A lot depends on whether you like Jack Reacher, the pragmatic investigator.
A lone gunman shoots five random people in what seems like an act of mass murder. Based on evidence and his flawed past, an ex-army sniper is held as the suspect. He wants ‘Jack Reacher’ (Tom Cruise) to interrogate the case.