So I watched Mission Impossible…
This is one of those movies that I’ve grown to love. The first time I watched it, I found it a little confusing, in fact, there are still plot elements that I don’t quite understand but I’ve learnt to deal with them. Also watching the first movie in a series of films is almost always entertaining because you can see past events through the lens of the future and this allows for deeper appreciation of characters and their development.
Okay, basic plot: Top CIA Agent, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is on a covert mission in Prague when things take a disastrous turn – Ethan’s entire team is killed and Ethan is accused of being a double-agent. The CIA believes that Ethan is attempting to sell a NOC List – a list that contains all its agents’ aliases as well as their true identities. To prove his innocence Ethan must find the real double-agent, the only way to do this (apparently) is by using the NOC List as bait. So Ethan will assemble a team, steal the NOC list from The CIA and then attempt to sell it…um isn’t that exactly what he was accused of doing? Don’t think about it too hard…*cue the theme song*
I think the basic premise of this movie has always being my biggest problem with it. I get that Ethan needs to use The NOC List to find the person who was originally trying to buy it and that this buyer will lead him to the actual double-agent. But does he have to steal the real NOC List? I understand that the buyer will run verification tests on the list but wouldn’t it be easier to create a fake list that can fool the verification tests than it would be to break into The CIA? But this is probably why I’m not a spy.
That being said, I love the way they broke into The CIA. The scene where Tom Cruise is hanging suspended from the roof, just inches above the ground, and then he catches his own drop of sweat so that he doesn’t set off the alarms is iconic. I’ve seen that scene recreated so many times – mostly in The Mission Impossible movies that followed this one. Jokes aside, that CIA Infiltration Mission is a classic piece of cinema. The Mission Impossible movies are part spy-action thrillers and part heist movies. I love seeing the planning and finesse needed to conduct these missions juxtaposed with the raw action that comes with the unpredictability of the world of espionage.
This movie’s best feature, without doubt, is Tom Cruise. Cruise has this great energy and determination that he brings to every role that I absolutely love watching. He just knows how to make entertaining movies and, more often than not, he gets it right. The rest of the acting in this movie isn’t anything amazing. I did enjoy Jon Voight and Ving Rhames performances but I found their characters rather underdeveloped and quite wooden. I have to give Brian De Palma credit for some of his camera work and editing in this movie. There are times when he chooses long tracking shots instead of quickly-edited flashes and this really helps the movie maintain a steady rhythm.
Overall, this movie is a fun ride with some amazing action sequences and innovative spy elements. It’s definitely worth a watch 7/10