Film Review: Jack Ryan - Shadow Recruit

Finding a good thriller these days, is tricky.

There are many different factors that have to be taken into account, to ensure it's genuine.

The Bourne Legacy came close, the more recent Die Hard went every which way before deciding what was going on and Premium Rush was pretty much - fine.

This new Jack Ryan film, the first to not be based on one of Tom Clancy's books, (but based on the characters) is the best thriller I've seen for a long time, far surpassing all the rest. A great thriller, among other things, should have your pulse racing, not stopping until the credits, this film ticked that box most assuredly.

It does proud the Tom Clancy name and reputation for excellent story telling and adds its own new energy, with the help of a top rate director, cast and crew.

Director first.

Kenneth Branagh has directed films before, most recently the first Thor film, mentioned here as like this one, the direction was flawless. A lot of action films these days have some shoddy camera work, the fighting is sometimes incomprehensible to the casual viewer and the parts where information is relayed is spoken so fast that subtitles and much pausing is essential to be able to understand what precisely is going on.

Not so with this. All was well in all these facets of the direction, and the only times that subtitles were needed was when some of the characters were speaking Russian.

Next, the crew. The screenwriters, editors and composer all have constructed a great story, gripping, interesting - it has great pulling power. The threat they are facing is not minor and there is a sense of realism to the story. Patrick Doyle, who also composed the music for Thor, has created something great for this film too, the score fits in deftly with the story, quite seamlessly.

Lastly, the cast. Mr Branagh has two jobs here, as has been said, the director and also here, the front face of who is the "bad guy". Of course, never is that simple. There is always a history between foes and that adds to the complexity. Mr Branagh brings that same complexity to his character, Viktor Cherevin, complete with a spot on Russian accent and the language to boot.

Chris Pine is the film's titular character and his performance here is nothing short of marvellous. With action/thriller films, the main character's acting can often be (and often is) phoned in, or just the barest minimum. Here Mr Pine gives the character of Jack Ryan real intelligence but at the same time, weaknesses. Jack Ryan was never meant to be the super spy, Ethan Hunt, always knows what to do. The everyman perspective is very refreshing.

Keira Knightley, as always, brings a strong portrayal to the screen, here as Cathy Muller, Jack's fiancee.

The supporting cast includes Kevin Costner, Lenn Kudrjawizki and Colm Feore, all of whom portray their roles just as well as the main cast.

All in all, a great way to spend 105 minutes and well worth the dvd price, it was released four days ago on dvd, according to the JB HI FI website.


  1. This quote comes from another good thriller, with a clever villain.

    “Professor Moriaty: Are you sure you want to play this game?
    Sherlock Holmes: I'm afraid you'd lose.”


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