Monday, December 24, 2012
It’s often better not to have read the book. That way, you don’t know, for example, that Tom Cruise looks nothing like the hero of Lee Child’s series, and it’s possible to think Cruise’s sleek, jet-black masculinity and reluctant heroism bring interest to a cryptic part defined more by who he isn’t than who he is. “The Usual Suspects” screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie takes the director’s chair for only the second time, and delivers a crisp, enjoyable crime thriller – albeit one that’s mostly solved by the halfway point. He’s assembled a great supporting cast, including Richard Jenkins, David Oyelowo, Werner Herzog as the chief baddie, Robert Duvall (who’s having a blast and brings needed wit and levity to the second hour), and the winsome Rosamund Pike, the best thing about last year’s insufferable “Barney’s Version.” I’d love to see more big parts for Pike, but I wish her defense attorney here, Helen Rodin, were a worthier counterpart to Reacher (that is to say, smarter). Mostly, he has to drag her along from clue to clue, and it’s not a great sign that we’re often two steps ahead of her.