Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

Hayley Atwell and Tom Cruise

Two hours 43 minutes of pure entertainment is what Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One delivers. The only real question it’s raised by the end of its breathless 200-odd minutes is how is Part Two going to top it? There’s even a plot, the usual one of something that needs tracking down, Ethan Hunt and his team working in the shadowy “disavowed” realm, good bad guys ostensibly from their own side and bad bad guys keen to get their hands on the thing, which this time around is a key that will disarm a rogue AI superbrain with plans for world domination. Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt. Now looking decidedly middle aged … Read more

The Usual Suspects

Pete Postlethwaite, Stephen Baldwin and Gabriel Byrne in The Usual Suspects

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 2 January Pete Postlethwaite dies, 2011 On this day in 2011, aged 64, the actor Pete Postlethwaite died of pancreatic cancer. It had been diagnosed in March 2009. Postlethwaite had already survived cancer once, having been diagnosed of testicular cancer in 1990, which went into remission after he had a testicle removed. An actor simultaneously of great force and nuance, Postlethwaite’s relatively uncommon name marks his family down as having originated in Postlethwaite in Cumbria, England (the name means Postle’s Farm). His relatively uncommon looks – huge bony cheekbones, honest putty nose, angry skin – were matched by his trajectory into … Read more

The Way of the Gun

Ryan Phillippe and Benicio Del Toro in The Way of the Gun

Having written The Usual Suspects, Christopher McQuarrie’s directorial debut was always going to generate a lot of interest. It also, when it finally did arrive five years later, generated a lot of disappointment, not least for McQuarrie, who wouldn’t direct another film until Jack Reacher in 2012. Which, looking back from more than a decade later, seems a bit unfair. In Usual Suspects fashion The Way of the Gun delivers blood and twists with a noirish inflection, and takes a pair of good-looking, tooled-up desperadoes (Benicio Del Toro, Ryan Phillipe), dresses them up in Tarantino attitude and pitches them into a plot constructed like a maze. Thing starts fairly easy, as the two … Read more