It’s extremely hard not to like Tom Cruise, neither as a human being or as an actor. Just take a look at what the guy has accomplished over his 30 years in the business. He’s done everything from political dramas, erotic thrillers and hysterical comedies to exhilarating science-fiction and heart-pounding spy-action. Not only has he attempted all these difference genres, he’s also been nothing short of sensational in nearly every case. To be honest, I can’t think of a single terrible performance by the man. His reputation for being the last real movie star on our planet is hard to deny. No one can carry a movie like him these days. Even most of the big players pale in comparison to his endlessly youthful energy and captivating screen presence. Now at the age of 53, Cruise still insists on doing all of his stunts himself, even if it means hanging from an A400. And just as you thought it couldn’t get any wilder for the M:I franchise, you are pleasantly surprised, because ‘Rogue Nation’ thrills and excites in ways you can only imagine.
In the movie, Ethan Hunt is trying to uncover a secret organisation known as the syndicate, which operates off-grid to bring down leaders and governments around the world. Unfortunately, the MIF is disbanded due to the events in the last film, leaving Ethan alone and wanted for the damage he’s caused in the past. No one believes that a rogue nation actually exists, but Ethan is determined to find them and bring them to justice. So once again he must assemble his team, track down the enemy, and of course do one seemingly impossible mission after another.
Never had I thought that a fifth film in a series would also turn out to be the best of the bunch. I don’t know how they managed to top the excellence of the previous instalment, which was already a phenomenal piece of action entertainment all on its own. But as the title suggests, they did the impossible and brought us a dazzling vision of jaw-dropping spectacle and vast ambition, bigger and bolder than ever before. From the tightly choreographed stunt-sequences to the nail-biting tension, ‘Rogue Nation’ succeeds on all thinkable parameters. Cruise still moves at full throttle, Christopher McQuarrie’s direction is impeccable and swift, and the villain is finally up to par with our protagonist. I usually don’t sweat uncontrollably during a motion picture, but here I couldn’t stop it from dripping. I was literally on the edge of my seat for 2 hours and 20 minutes.
The most remarkable thing about the picture is how well it balances all the ingredients. With the other movies, the filmmakers either went for straight-up espionage or high-octane action. Here we get the best of both worlds. The intense pace of ‘Ghost Protocol’, mixed with the gripping but subtle tension of Brian De Palma’s 1996 film. One minute I was sore from laughing, the next I was soaked in suspense. Sometimes both at the same time. The screenplay, written by McQuarrie himself, seems so knowing of what makes the audience tick. It allows for just the right amount of humor to be induced whenever it’s needed to relieve and counteract the nerve-wracking thrills. Take the scene in the opera, which plays out like a ballet of visual action poetry. Without spoiling anything, the music here provides a sense of rhythm to the fight that is going on in the wings of the stage, dictating our feelings like we were instruments. It’s a prime example of how effective and essential a location can be to the situation that unfolds within it. Certainly a highlight of the film.
There are numerous scenes like this throughout the course of the movie , like an underwater mission so visceral that I almost thought my heart was going to fail. The fact that pretty much all of it is real makes it even more insane to watch. I still can’t believe they pulled it off, just like all the other crazy stunts they kept throwing at me with such confidence and skill. This is not just good action, or great for that matter. It’s more than that. This is a state-of-the-art showcase of what the human physique is capable of. A four-star Michelin dish cooked perfectly at just the right temperature, with just the right amount of salty self-awareness to keep it from becoming bloated or overly serious. After all, we’re talking about a film with the word “impossible” in it. McQuarrie understands that, just like he understands how to make a clever, kinetic and consistently engaging cinematic experience. That is exactly what he’s provided here; a spy-thriller masterpiece that never runs out of steam, never ceases to amaze, and never settles for less than bravura.