Sunday, November 25, 2012

Stylish Action Entertainer - Mission Impossible 4 : Ghost Protocol

Is there anything Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) cannot do? No. He climbs the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa tower, jumps off the tower, chases the bad guy amidst sandstorm, infiltrates the highly secured Russian archives base Kremlin, etc, etc. He does all this for one sole purpose - to save the world from a nuclear attack in Mission Impossible 4 - Ghost Protocol.

The plot is very plain. Launch codes of a Russian nuclear device falls in the hands of nuclear extremist Cobalt. IMF must stop him at all cost to avoid a nuclear war between two superpowers. Not very difficult to understand right?! In fact you will be immersed into the mind-blowing action scenes that you won’t even think of whether the story is complicated or not. M.I.4 has not even a single dull moment, not deviating from the plot in any instant. The film blasts off as a jet with full speed throughout, with as much action sequences and gadgets to please and entertain anyone who likes action-spy films.

Tom Cruise is back, reprising his role as super cool, charming, ultra superspy Ethan Hunt. This time he has to lead a team that he didn’t choose, and without any official support from the agency. His team comprises of computer geek Benji (Simon Pegg) and Agent Jane (Paula Patton), and later joined by Chief Analyst William Brandt (Jeremy Renner).

The action sequences are mind-blowing and spectacular right from the beginning till the end. The Burj Khalifa tower sequence in Dubai is breathtaking and stylishly executed both by Cruise and the crew. It must be one of the outstanding stunts of all the times. Other notable stunts being the foot-chase between Ethan and the bad guy, Renner’s jumping into a narrow vent with a magnetic suit. There are other fast and quick action scenes too - like the initial letter drop scene, the standoff between the team members at one point of time. Renner is awesome in that standoff. 

Ethan climbing Burj Khalifa tower


The casting is very strong. Except Tom Cruise and Simon Pegg who reprise their respective roles, all others are newly cast. The acting is convincing and very impressive, especially Renner and Paula Patton. It sounds like Renner’s role of Brandt could be a possible replacement to Ethan Hunt in future sequels if at all Tom chooses to retire from the franchise. Paula Patton is good in stunts – the one with female assassin Sabine Moreau (Lea Seydoux). Simon Pegg is cool and funny as computer expert Benji. Michael Nyqvist as Cobalt has nothing much to do. I felt like he is wasted. This time the villain role is not much effective as in the previous installments like Davien in M.I 3.  There is a female assassin Sabina Moreau (Lea Seydoux). Her eyes are simply terrifying, and she is more terrifying than the main villain. Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor has a minor role as a Mumbai based telecom industrialist Brij Nath.

Though an end-to-end action film, it’s not completely rigid. It has enough funny and comical moments - friendly interactions between Brandt and Benji, Benji making silly mistakes despite highly tense situation inside Kremlin, and Ethan’s prison friend Bogdan.  Most action films fail to impress because of not having this aspect and occupied by prolonged noise of stunts. M.I 4 in that way is very well balanced.

Sabine Moreau, the contract killer
The film has all the typical trademarks of the franchise – M.I original theme, masks, hacking satellite and high security systems, new car, foot-chase, jumping off buildings, self destructing messages, etc. Believe me, these guys have more gadgets than Bond. Some of them seem to be unbelievable but how the team uses them is interesting and appropriately. For example, the hand gloves used by Ethan to climb the tower, the way they get into Kremlin, switching suites in Burj Khalifa tower, Renner wearing a magnetic suite to jump into a narrow went – all are quite good with these gadgets. They tactically play the game with the very less time span remaining. In fact, the whole plot is set within 48 hours of time only.

Jeremy Renner in Action
The locations are very catchy and include Russia, Budapest, Dubai and India. The photography is very rich giving an overall stylish appeal to the film.

It’d be unfair if I don’t mention about the director of the film. The director of the film, Brad Bird is a newbie to live action films. He has earlier directed academy winning animation ventures Ratatoulie and The Incredibles. But this doesn’t have any impression of a live action debutant. Pretty neat.

I don’t find anything that lets the film down. There is no second thought that this is absolutely one of the best action films of all the time that action movie freaks love to watch, a thrill ride to enjoy. If anyone feels it’s not entertaining or boring or lets you down or something like that, then it is a mission impossible to entertain the person through any other means.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Truth, Remorse - Atonement

Atonement (2007)
Genre: Drama, Romance, Mystery, War
Direction: Joe Wright
Cast: Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Saoirse Ronan, Ramola Garai
I usually don’t prefer to watch romance genre films irrespective of the language. My choices are mystery thrillers, movies with twisted ending, and sort of stuffs. There are around a dozen of high rated romance flicks in my laptop without even opening the folder for more than 2 years, occupying space simply. One among them ‘was’ Atonement. I watched it at last, a couple of days before. At first I thought it’s an ordinary love story. Yes it is a love story, but not as what I thought to be ordinary. It’s an extraordinary film made in recent years. 
We humans often commit mistakes, do misinterpretations, sometimes assume things to an extent that we blindly believe what we have witnessed are the truth. It may even bring unexpected and unbearable consequences to the persons involved. But we don’t let ourselves to at least try to know what has actually happened. Because, what if we are wrong? What if the things we believe are actually the other way around? Our ego does not let us accept our mistake. This happens with most of us. Doesn’t it? Well… the British romance mystery drama Atonement has a similar storyline, a story of how a blind mistake committed by a young girl Briony (Ronan) turns the lives of her elder sister Cecilia (Keira) and her lover Robbie (McAvoy) upside down. 
Atonement has an intricate but spectacular story, fantastic narrative style, terrific performances, and wonderful visuals. The continuous 5 minutes long war-torn Dunkirk beach scene is more than enough to speak about the film’s photography. It is breathtaking and one of the visually stunning scenes of all time. The camera movement inside the palatial mansion is also pretty good. The background score is very well effective and coherent. This is the first time I have seen the typewriter clanking sound being used in soundtrack in important scenes. This is really distinctive and absolutely praiseworthy. The direction by British director Joe Wright is remarkably good, followed by his previous film Pride and Prejudice. This marks second consecutive and successful collaboration between Keira and Wright. Adapted from the novel of the same name, it is considered to be one of the best adaptions till date.
Keira has an intense role which she has done perfectly, except that she smokes a lot on screen. Her role in Atonement is largely different from her earlier roles. She proves her mettle with strong acting throughout the film. James McAvoy is none different from Keira. He has also given his best shot. His performance adds more credibility to the significant Dunkirk scene. Both Keira and James have given one of their career best performances in Atonement. But the show stealing performance is from Saiorse Ronan, who played the young Briony, age 13. Briony is the vital character of the film which is actually played by three different actors in different ages. Ronan takes the role of young Briony, delivering a subtle, surprising and strikingly awesome class act, like a precious stone or gem that is not seen often. She earned an academy award nomination for best supporting actress at the age of 14 years itself, becoming the youngest. Ramola Garai plays the teenage Briony, who has a nearly equally good show to Ronan. Vanessa Redgrave who takes the role of an aged Briony, did the needed, though she appears for less than 10 minutes in the film.
From Left to Right : Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai, Vanessa Redgrave as Briony Tallis
As said already, it’s not simply a romance film. Most of the romance films used to be of comedy-romance genre. If you expect it to be a movie like, a boy and girl falls in love, part their way and rejoice again, and sentimental stuffs, Atonement is not for you. It largely differs from those clichéd films in a way that it strikes you hard. It has situations that are painful sometimes, shocking at some other instances, and characters that are helpless and remorseful. A movie is successful if it manipulates you and leaves you with an impact even after hours after watching it. That’s what happened to me while I was watching this. Such kind of movies only becomes unforgettable for years. And Atonement is surely one such not-to-miss film.
My Rating: Do I need to tell you that I’m gonna give 10 out 10?!!!