I enjoyed Jack Ryan, Shadow Recruit. It’s not a great movie, but it’s entertaining enough. And it stars pock-skinned Chris Pine, who is one of those flashes-of-brilliance actors who sometimes, sometimes, tantalisingly hits the all right notes. This is not one of those times. Keira, who I’m not so fond of, plays his girlfriend, and she manages her lazy eye long enough to be not-quite-irritating. There’s a lot of chasing and punching and running about, and Kenneth Branagh munches the scenery like a fat kid at a Twix convention. So.
Not that it really matters one bit, but JRSC is about a Russian plot to destabilise the US economy in revenge for (not sure what) using a couple of sleeper agents who’ve gone to ground somewhere in Manhattan. But as I said, this isn’t about the what, it’s about the how, and the how, well, that’s fun enough to pass ninety minutes on an airplane.
I’m loving the re-habilitation of Kevin Costner. It seems like just the other day that the hero of one of my favourite movies ever – No Way Out – was swamping himself entirely in the gunky self-indulgence of The Postman and Waterworld – potentially unforgiveable errors further compounded by calling Madonna’s Bedtime Stories show “neat” (and for which he was witheringly put down by the Knickerless One.)
After a couple of minor movies where Kev held his own in familiar territory, in Mr. Brooks, he steps out into the kind of character that we’ve rarely seen him play – a nutter. Mr. Brooks is a psychopath. One of his personalities sits in the back seat as he drives and back chats. He kills for fun. He’s even got a nickname in the press – and he’s being hunted by a dedicated cop with a messy marriage, who’s working for love not money. And there’s the dumbass Mr. Smith, who thinks he can play Mr. Brooks at his own game.
Mr. Brooks is a taut thriller that’s atmospheric and handled well. It’s set in Portland, Oregon (Mr. Brook’s has just been honoured as Man of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce) but it shot in Shreveport, Louisiana thanks to the State’s aggressive incentives programme.
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