8:00 PM, 22nd March, 2013
In Pittsburgh, a man drives into a parking garage, readies a sniper rifle, and fires. Six shots and five deaths later, the sniper makes his swift getaway. A trail of evidence left at the scene soon leads the police to James Barr, a former army sharpshooter, and within hours the case is solved. Or so it seems…
During interrogation, Barr asks for Jack Reacher (Cruise), an ex-Military Police officer-turned-drifter who appears to have vanished off the face of the earth. The prosecution set off to track Reacher down, but before they can even finish reviewing his file, he arrives. Immediately blasting holes in their case, Reacher takes it upon himself to prove Barr’s innocence, putting him on a collision course with (spoiler alert!) the true culprits behind the conspiracy.
Based on the ninth in a series of tremendously popular novels by Lee Child, Jack Reacher is a no-holds-barred, violent crime thriller that harkens back to the best of Dirty Harry-era, 70s cinema. Sure, Reacher may be a two-metre-tall hulk of a man in the novels, but there’s no denying that Cruise emanates the necessary intensity (and then some) as the cinematic Reacher, confidently calm and smug despite his vertical limitations. It doesn’t hurt either that this pulpy guilty pleasure is populated with a top-notch cast of seasoned pros, including Robert Duvall, Richard Jenkins and, in a brilliant stroke of casting, German writer-director-documentarian-and-sometimes-actor Werner Herzog as Reacher’s nemesis. All in all, a dark, twisty and witty mystery well worth a watch.
10:25 PM, 22nd March, 2013
The stories of the Bronte sisters have been told many times before, and while we wait for the adaptations that feature Heathcliff as a vampire, we’re presented with Andrea Arnold’s take on the classic tale.
The tale goes that Catherine Earnshaw is a farmer who lives with her elder brother Hindley and their father in a remote moorland manor called Wuthering Heights. One day all their lives shift course when her father returns home and introduces her and Hindley to a homeless boy he has adopted. The boy is given the name Heathcliff and connects with Catherine and they become close friends, but their growing affection is disrupted when Hindley’s hostility towards Heathcliff turns into jealousy. Plus there are lots of rolling hills and the like.
This telling omits several pieces of the book, which I think enables the film to focus on the relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff, and not try to cram everything in. The cinematography is incredible in capturing the life of the time and making Wuthering Heights almost a character in the interplay also. The acting is superb with Kaya Scodelario / Nichola Burley, and James Howson / Solomon Glave giving stellar performances as the two leads at different ages. The heavy character development of the novel is the underpinning of this gothic and dark retelling, which works wonderfully. And there isn’t a Kate Bush song to be heard – also a plus.