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Movie review: Mission Impossible: Fallout

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Posted on August 13, 2018 |
By Joan Ellis



Mission Impossible.jpg
Tom Cruise clings to a cliff in “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” (2018).

Mission: Impossible – Fallout— Running Time: 2:27 — Rating: PG-13

Tom Cruise and writer/director Christopher McQuarrie have nailed us to our seats with suspense — again. As the credits roll for “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” you are likely to sit immobile in in your seat in wonderful fear. If that sounds crazy, it is.

The tale unfolds in Belfast, Berlin, Paris and London and we follow as the action moves through all the monuments we recognize and love. The secret, as always, is to forgive ourselves for not understanding the plot or the characters. Just listen to the music and watch Cruise race through the explosions. The predictably violent sound track is a constant warning of what lies ahead.

Here’s the gut of it: Terrorist John Lark has designed a plan for the destruction of the world with three nuclear spheres that will do the job when one person has all three plus the key to ignite one. Lark’s plans are being carried out by his supporters, The Apostles. Where is the missing plutonium ball? That’s the gut of the film. Can Cruise find it and save the world? Don’t worry about the world or the details or the confusing identities. Just watch the inventive tricks as they unfold.

Watch for a Paris bathroom scene of confined bloody violence, a nightclub scene of the same, and enjoy the sight of each horrifying switch unfolding under amazing light. We’re never sure who is good or who is evil. Watch Vanessa Kirby as “the White Widow,” Henry Cavill as CIA operative August Walker, villain Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) and enjoy a fine turn by Alec Baldwin as Cruise’s boss. Baldwin drops a strong note of wisdom into the otherwise ridiculous happenings.

Whether Cruise is riding a bike against traffic in a Paris tunnel or dodging bullets everywhere, the tension spirals up. Why are we caught when we know the whole thing is ridiculous? It’s simple. Cruise doing the impossible, especially in the melodramatic, ludicrous finale that absorbs a whole theater.

Why, I asked myself, am I sitting here tied in knots about whether he will fall off a cliff, be hit by a truck, or shot by a traitor when I know perfectly well none of that will happen? The reality of that is the music, the extraordinary filming and the colors put together create tension very successfully. Don’t even wonder who is who; it doesn’t matter a whit.

One appealing thing in all the violence: Cruise’s Ethan Hunt, for all his tough guy stuff, cares far more about one man or woman in danger than he does about the end of the whole world, and as he protects each one, we begin to like him. The plot? Forget it. Just look for the hints of good and bad in the characters, and feel yourself sinking into your chair hoping you can just disappear. Challenge: During the last 20 minutes, see how much you can watch before slamming your eyes shut in fear.

— Reviewed by Joan Ellis

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