lördag 14 december 2013
JACK REACHER and ONE SHOT
There has been some moaning about the casting of Tom Cruise as Reacher, since Reacher is a gigantic,muscular and intimidating character in the novels. I can see that. The problem with adaptations from books to film is the individual visualization process of books,of how everything should look like according to people. There are a million different intepretations, which is one of the reasons books are such a great medium. but focusing on only one aspect of the books seem kind of onenote. Sure, getting the character right is important, but translating him, marketing him, making an audience aware of the character is very important as well. And without a high-profile name as Cruise I probably would not even have noticed or bothered about the books. For instance, apparantly there was an adaptation of the first John Rain-novel. John Rain,who is that, you say? Exactly. I wouldn´t say that the movie was directly responsible for me seeking out the books, but when I was browsing through the bookstore this summer, I noticed a large amount of them had the name Lee Child and they all seem to have kind of pulpy titles and when I saw "A Jack Reacher Thriller" I remembered the movie and the name and I knew I would perhaps be into it. So its not a bad thing at all to be able to spread the awareness of a franchise and if it takes a household name to do that, then perhaps sacrifices must be made.
Five innocent people gets seemingly randomly gunned down by a sniper.,The cops find the killer but they cannot get an confession out of him,. only the message "get Jack Reacher" and Reacher starts . unwhillingly at first,working with the defense lawyer Helen Rhodin to find out what really happened.
One of the problems with how the movie portays Reacher compared to the novels.The movie only shows how great Reacher is at everything. In the books his flaws are presented as well. He can´t run fast, he is a shitty driver etc. Partly because he is a big guy.The driving part is the only real flaw of the representation of the character. He is just too good a driver compared to the books. Also the carchase is completely made up for the film. But since this movie reminds me more of a gritty realistic 70´s action tough guy movie, you´ll have no complaints from me regarding the addition of a carchase. It is just that Reacher does not drive well in the books. So by removing the more awkward aspects of Reachers character and instead making Reacher as awesome as possible also makes him harder to distinguish from other movie action heroes .
Then there is a real dumb selfconscious sequence where Reacher explains to Helen and the audience about his way of life and "wouldn´t everyone want to live like me?" Reacher would never do that, but I kind of get of what they were trying to do; since this is the first in a possible movie franchise, getting the idea across about what Jack Reacher is about to non-readers. I did not like it though.
The plot behind the shootings is reminiscent of similar tactics by the killer in a previous Reacher-novel: The Visitor. Hiding in plain sight. Disguising the true motives and their target but instead of making it look like a serial killer it is made to look like the irrational work of a massmurderer going rampage.
The movie deals with the exposition parts quite good´. The books are very plot-heavy, usually filled with scenes with people sitting in a room explaining the plot, but McQuarrie has found a way to make it visually more interesting. The script of the movie also does a good job of streamlining the plot by removing a lot of fat from the book, characters and plots being reshaped to fit better into a sleek two hour action spectacle.It might annoy readers familiar with the book. But the plot feels as result a bit tighter and a lot of elements are condensed really well, like the Zec character and were he came from. And as a whole the movie is a successful adaptation. It is not entirely true to the book but should be seen as natural. After all it´s about catering to a contemporary cinema goers sensiblities, making them more aware and interested in the character and hopefully get to read the books. I hope so.
UPDATE: I reviewed the very first Reacher book on another blog: