Film Review: Jack Reacher

Jack Reacher is an immensely entertaining thriller. Wisely, the film does not take itself too seriously, which adds to the overall enjoyment.

When five innocent people are gunned down by what appears to be an expert sniper, police believe that they have found the culprit. However Jack Reacher, a former investigator in the army, thinks there is more to the case than meets the eye. He begins an investigation of his own…

A crime thriller that combines mystery with action, Jack Reacher could have easily been run of the mill. In some ways, it is. The narrative is not particularly illuminating. Nevertheless, the opening sequence does the job of grabbing the attention and setting up what is to follow. The sequence is provides sufficient mystery to keep the audience engaged.

The plot is fairly standard for this genre. Where the film excels in its ability to inject a healthy dose of ridiculousness into what could have been a straight-faced thriller. Director and screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie permeates the film with tongue in cheek humour. At least on one occasion where the film may be taking itself seriously but it rather silly, McQuarrie pulls it back to let viewers know that the filmmakers are in on the joke.

The action sequences are good overall, neatly building to a western-style showdown. Production values are sound, and the lighting and camera work in the finale convey a sense of disorientation. Casting Werner Herzog was a masterstroke. He really makes the film. Tom Cruise does not take himself too seriously as the title character, it is pleasant to see a star of his magnitude being able to laugh at himself.

Unless a action thriller can be genuinely original, this is exactly how films of this genre should be made. Jack Reacher is lots of fun.