By Shreehari H
“There cannot be peace without first, a great suffering. The greater the suffering, the greater the peace,” reads the manifesto of John Lark, an undercover fundamentalist who wants to destroy the current world order. The syndicate hired by this advocate of anarchy is referred to as “The Apostles,” who have a policy of terror for hire, and the titular fallout refers to three plutonium cores that have suddenly gone missing and could pose an unprecedented threat in the wrong hands. The targets, ironically enough for a group named after the twelve disciples of Christ, are three of the holiest sites in the world: the Vatican, Jerusalem and Mecca, and a nuclear dance of death seems to be looming on the horizon.
Ethan Hunt, the ethereal charmer with a “long and incriminating history of rogue behaviour” is brought up to speed. His mission – should he choose to accept it, of course – is to recover these weapons of mass destruction, and put an end to the syndicate’s nefarious designs once and for all. As summed up by a character in the film, this is technically a suicide mission, and one with not too many recourses, although the audience tuned into watching this demigod hop, skip and jump from one state of imperilment to another, might be inclined to think otherwise.
Like Brian de Palma’s original in 1996, Christopher McQuarrie’s latest film, arguably the best in the franchise, is filled with signature strokes that have by now become emblematic in a sense: from Argentine composer Lalo Schifrin’s famous theme tune to 3-D printing machines that reconstruct facial topographies at the click of a button, from messages that self-destruct in five seconds to pompous, self-aggrandizing declarations of disavowment.
Besides Tom Cruise, the cast boasts of many familiar and accomplished faces, including Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust, Hunt’s current flame, Sean Harris as Solomon Lane, adversary extraordinaire, Michelle Monaghan as Julia, Hunt’s ex-wife, Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn. Additionally, the cast boasts of Ving Rhames as Luther Stickwell, and the spiel-spouting Alec Baldwin as Alan Hunley, the new Secretary of the IMF (not the International Monetary Fund, in case you were wondering). The acting in this new installment, as always, is top-notch, and is further elevated by the addition of two newcomers to the franchise: Henry Cavill as August Walker, a CIA assassin, and Vanessa Kirby (Princess Margaret from “The Crown”) as the White Widow, a complex, layered woman whose machinations are best left undivulged.
Cinematographer Rob Hardy’s frames remain suffused with an all-encompassing darkness as if to underline how high the stakes truly are this time around, and his propulsive, frenetic camerawork goes a long way in making the film consistently enjoyable. The deftly choreographed action sequences here are the best in any Mission Impossible movie yet, and Cruise continues to put his own neck on the line even as he indulges in one death-defying stunt after another: from resuscitating a colleague reeling from hypoxia in the midst of a skydiving sprint to zipping through Parisian streets with the police hot on his tail. This is a summer blockbuster in the best sense of the word – albeit one burdened by an occasional overdose of exposition – and one best relished on the biggest of IMAX screens.
“We should all be dead. Why aren’t we?” Hunt wonders at one point in the film, and the audience, are in on the joke as always. Hinting at his character’s infallibility, Cruise makes us realise how we almost seem to have grown up alongside him for the better part of the last two decades. This, after all, is a superstar who imbues the word ‘cruise-control’ with a whole new meaning, a man whose avowed objective remains the same: to charm legions of swooners across generations into the delirium of ecstasy left in his wake – and as always, we partake only too gleefully.
Mission: Endorsable, I say.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
This post was first published here.