|Tom Cruise, Mission Impossible:Ghost Protocol, Paramount Pictures, 2011.|
What fresher, exciting choice as director of a major action picture has there been this year? Brad Bird, the visionary animation auteur behind The Iron Giant, The Impossibles and Ratatouille takes on Tom Cruise's high octane franchise with an ease and fluidity which obscure the fact that this is his first live action film. Following in the inspired footsteps of DePalma, Woo and Abrams, Bird engineers a doozy.
Cruise returns as the unstoppable Ethan Hunt, who, teamed with a well cast Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton and Simon Pegg, must stop a dastardly Soviet plot. . . . Are we still fighting the Soviets? Anyway, the plot is happenstance to Bird's beguilingly agile action set pieces. One after another roll out and wow us with their spellbinding visual dexterity. The popcorn spy thriller receives a much needed surge of energy from his expert mise en scene.
Cruise carries the flick like old hat, but his star strength is in his ability to make us feel as if its his first time out, right there with us. We never feel a strain, only an unmarked pleasure at being swept away on an escapist masterclass, caught up in the motion which nets millions.