Wednesday, 29 July 2015
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
Brad Bird's Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol understands that easy breezy accomplishment can never register like a dangerous fluke. Seeing Tom Cruise slip effortlessly between steel ventilation teeth raises a smile but it's nothing compared to a clammy leer at the actor struggling up the side of the world's tallest building, lumbered with a pair of malfunctioning Spider-Man gloves.
Bird has the ability to conjure up a sense of anxiety whilst still working within a broad, blockbuster framework. The action doesn't feel handed off and impersonal, it's the opposite of punctuation. Characters are baptised by motion. Stuck in implausible situations, they have to think their way around the problem and stress their bodies to accomplish. Bird and screenwriters Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec know that it's a lot easier to put yourself in the place of a man cooking inside a computer than it is to connect with an invulnerable gunfighter.
Ghost Protocol is also the first Mission: Impossible since Brian De Palma's opening salvo that really revels in the actual process of placing a spy into a situation. Since Ethan Hunt and his crew are super duper disavowed they're saddled with finite, malfunctioning equipment that forces them, not to mention the film, to construct intrigue around bullishness and skill rather than an expensive prop. Since there is no end to his talents, Bird also helps Cruise rejuvenate his star persona in a way that accounts for all the perceived craziness. This Hunt is brilliant but unhinged, an intense, lofty presence with suicidal programming.