Movie #213 2020: Mission: Impossible (1996)

No. Okay? No, I haven’t seen any of the Mission: Impossible films before. I intend on changing that. (I say, as I have yet to watch a single James Bond movie.)

If, like me, you have no idea what these films are really about, here’s a little synopsis. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is the leading character of the franchise; a CIA agent who begins the movie with a team of other spies in Europe. After their operation falls apart suddenly and without warning, Hunt learns that a mole has infiltrated the agency and, as he’s the only one who has survived, he is now the number 1 suspect. In an effort to clear his name, it’s now Hunt’s mission to find the real mole and save his own life.

I don’t know why I love action movies so much, but I can’t help it. Throw in some covert ops and CIA moles and you’ve GOT ME. Will you love Mission: Impossible if you don’t love action movies? Well, there are heist movie aspects too, plus the story is really fun. It has that ‘WHAT IS THE TRUTH?!’ thing about it that appeals to so many that I’d wager that you don’t need to be a fan of action movies or ‘dude flicks’ to enjoy it.

If action isn’t your thing but acting is, the casting in this is insane. Vanessa Redgrave and Jean Reno in the same movie? Who could ask for anything more?! Tom Cruise is probably better in this than in any other movie I’ve seen him in recently too, so that’s an added bonus, especially when I usually can’t stand the guy. Every performance in this is good; there is no weak link.

There so many iconic scenes in this film it’s hard to keep count. Perhaps the most celebrated of the lot is the sequence with the all-white safe room break in. This is so masterfully done it is a pleasure to watch. The use of silence? Used to perfection. The cinematography? Brilliant. I’ve never seen this before and yet I still knew about that scene. It is clear to see why it has inspired so many spy movies since.

Actually, while we’re speaking about cinematography, this whole movie was packed full of brilliance… something that I really didn’t expect! Some of the shots are so dynamic and multi-dimensional, which kept the eye interested and focused throughout.

My only advice is, don’t expect action constantly. There are some dialogue-heavy scenes that you’ll really need to pay attention to, and if you don’t, then you may find yourself a little bored during those sequences. However, each of these parts are absolutely essential to the progression of the plot, so if you see them as negatives, that’s on you, not the movie.

I’ve heard that M:iII and M:iIII aren’t all that great, but it seems like they’re worth getting through in order to get to the more recent movies. Please correct me if I’m wrong!

On the whole, this film won’t be for everyone. But it was definitely for me.

Mission: Impossible is available to stream on Sky Cinema and Now TV in the UK.

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