Lightning strikes twice for Tom Cruise. After heading up 2011’s best action movie, “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” he stars in 2012’s most intelligent and suspenseful detective thriller “Jack Reacher.” This superbly crafted and stylish film gives us a terrific mystery to unravel along with high octane action, unexpected humor and unsettling drama. It’s one of the best times you can currently have at the movies.
Jack Reacher himself is a mystery and that’s just what he wants to remain. A former military police officer he now has no driver’s license or any other ties or identification on society’s grid. He comes in when a military sniper arrested for the senseless murders of five random victims tells authorities to “Get Jack Reacher.” What seems an open and shut case to the police appears to be far more to this dangerous man from nowhere with a penchant for making things right, even if it means going outside the law.
In his sophomore effort behind the camera, writer-director Christopher McQuarrie shows masterful promise with this adaptation of Lee Child’s novel “One Shot.” His unique visual style and approach to storytelling is fresh, engaging and undeniably entertaining. Though the opening sniper murder of random people in a park is shatteringly disturbing and the action scenes are quite violent, they refrain from unnecessary graphic and gory depictions yet firmly get the point across. His witty eye gives us scenes such as an unexpected highlight in the way Reacher ultimately evades a police car chase.
Much as he did in “Ghost Protocol,” Cruise gives a natural low-key performance that shows a charming cool with compassion, menace and his fair share of quips. The lovely Rosamund Pike joins him as the lawyer defending the accused sniper. It’s great to see her finally get a major role in a major film and she tackles it with spunky energy and intelligence and a face that always seems full of wonder. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of her in the future.