Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015) Film Review, a movie directed by Christopher McQuarrie, and starring Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner, Alec Baldwin, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Simon McBurney, Jingchu Zhang, Tom Hollander, and Jens Hultén.
All Tom Cruise beef aside, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation has all the bait and hooks of a killer spy flick. It is cleverly laced with brilliant state craft and backstabbing that had me double taking nearly the whole time. If you aren’t paying attention, you will get lost. Don’t take your eyes off it.
Every bit of it is interesting despite the reiteration of “desperate times call for desperate measures”, which becomes the Hippocratic cliché that ties together the surgery metaphor to describe the method of terrorism infiltration that must be dealt with.
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has always loved to take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself and if winging it weren’t part of his charm, he’d be dead by now. As it turns out, his lesson to the C.I.A. and Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) who is trying to subdue his program at the IMF, is that they can learn to wing it too, but not without him.
As needed, Ethan must go rogue to underpin the Syndicate, a British state sponsored intelligence program that has become a secret terrorist organization and has a network so vast, there are double agents in nearly every worldwide agency. A series of seemingly random accidents and events are strung together in what is meant to appear as a paranoid connection to the naked eye. So, Ethan has to prove it’s all being done by the same organization via the new ‘surgically’ rooted spy op terrorists headed by Solomon Lane (Sean Harris).
It’s clear from the first direct encounter with Lane’s cohorts that deliberately keeping Ethan alive is a mistake and he is not to be taken for granted. Ilsa Faust has gained Lane’s coveted trust to the point of his fault, but he doesn’t think he has given it to her. She encounters Ethan for the first time while he is entrusted as a prisoner to the Bone Doctor (Jens Hultén).
The holes in the plot are minimal, but out of convenience he never has to explain how he knows what he knows and he knows it all with perfect timing. An assassination attempt of the Viennese Chancellor at the opera? That’s one hell of a hunch. He sets up the intercept of the Syndicate without batting an eyelash or so much as a clue how he did it. He just knew. It’s not completely unbelievable that someone working in the field gains an instinct and has to project their psychic confidence onto their colleagues as they struggle with their trust in him until the proof they need surfaces. Ethan begins compelling them by dragging Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) into the action from his work desk with fake opera tickets and then an information packet to let him in on the theory of the Syndicate’s existence. Together they must snare the redundancies that are set up to ensure the assassination, and Ethan runs into a mysterious friend in the attempt who has already saved his life once.
Ilsa deploys the thrust by also gaining Ethan’s trust and remaining central to exploiting him for the Syndicate. She is mysterious enough without being overly sexualized and remains integral to the entire mission albeit her loyalty becomes ambiguous and you won’t know what her motives are or whether she is sure of them, but that’s just a spy doing her job. As fate will have it, so is setting up Ethan to get what she wants for her nefarious boss; the ledger of all monies and persons involved in the terrorist web that could bring down its government origin.
Ethan has to foil Lane from getting his hands on the stolen information about the Syndicate, and leading into the climax, it becomes clear that if a desk analyst like Benji where really to be spent on a mission, a real operative would probably sacrifice him without getting caught up in the emotional ties of friendship and would most certainly blow the cover of the Syndicate even if it cost civilians too. Loyalty like these spies have for their mission and for each other ties the theme together in a wonderfully intricate and very smart film even if it requires a leap of faith to trust Ethan. Needing one is not new to fans of this franchise nor to Ethan in order for him to do his own job. Mission accomplished.
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