Simon Pegg says the Tom Cruise ‘mythology’ is nothing like the real-life actor

25 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’: Film Review.

The 45-year-old Pegg thinks “there is a lot of mythology” surrounding his “Mission: Impossible – Rogue nation” co-star and insists he is “different” than his public persona, reports “I love Tom.The theme that runs like a quick-burning fuse through “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” is the tricky relationship between inevitability and chance — or luck, rather, as signaled by the brief appearance of a rabbit’s foot in one of Tom Cruise’s more brutal action sequences.Thanks to a sharp script that springs a real surprise or two and a pace that never slackens, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation rates as the second-best of the numerous franchise titles of the summer, after Mad Max: Fury Road. Armed with an absorbing mystery plot that does more than just connect the dots between action set-pieces (the most outlandish of which is dispensed with in a Bond-like opener), writer-director Christopher McQuarrie maintains the uptick in M:I quality established by the last two entries, and should land this entry within the series’ customary range of a half-billion bucks worldwide.

Working with Tom Cruise for the fifth time (if you include his uncredited rewrite on the last M:I feature, Ghost Protocol), McQuarrie benefits dramatically from extending the IMF team’s official ostracization to a point of total disenfranchisement from the American government; in an early scene, the CIA chief (Alec Baldwin) succeeds in getting the stealth group shut down, forcing Ethan Hunt’s new partners from the last film, Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and Benji (Simon Pegg), to go to work at CIA headquarters. Despite early reports of soft tracking, this late-summer Paramount release should meet with a solid embrace worldwide, and could demonstrate considerable B.O. resilience through the doldrums of August. And this is the thanks Ethan gets just after having jumped on to the wing of a giant A400 transport plane, hanging precariously off its side during take-off in a stunt famous even before the film is released — and that it would appear Cruise performed for real. It’s worth recalling that the Brad Bird-directed “Ghost Protocol” overcame a slow start to become the series’ highest-grossing entry (nearly $700 million worldwide), suggesting there was still plenty of life in “Mission: Impossible” — and in Tom Cruise’s career, whatever personal embarrassments and professional setbacks he may have suffered along the way.

For his efforts at thwarting the delivery of a stash of chemical weapons material, Ethan is strung up like a hog for butcher by requisitely swarthy members of The Syndicate. After a few lackluster recent vehicles (“Jack Reacher,” “Oblivion”) and one terrific, underappreciated thriller (“Edge of Tomorrow”), it’s clearer than ever that Ethan Hunt is not just one of Cruise’s signature roles, but also a commercial oasis to which he can reliably return in between riskier attempts to extend his personal brand. The wild card in the deck is an impressively composed and able young woman named Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), who seems to be allied with The Syndicate, except when she doesn’t. But he can also be Tom Cruise when he wants to be. “I say to him, I say, ‘Do Tom Cruise.’ And puts his sunglasses on and smiles. ‘There’s Tom Cruise!’ And he knows it!

Even if it’s not difficult to guess whose side she’ll ultimately wind up on, Ilsa’s ability to keep shrewd minds guessing about her allegiances is a high-wire act she sustains to very near the end, helped in no small measure by Ferguson, whose grown-up poise recalls that of some 1940s movie stars. The sequence is at once a tasty appetizer and a total red herring, and “Rogue Nation” swiftly gets down to business by putting Ethan and his fellow operatives out of commission.

McQuarrie doesn’t change the prescription for what makes this franchise so successful, nor does he have the most practiced hand among the series’ directors at milking the big action sequences for all they’re worth. But he’s deepened the dramatic involvement by so thoroughly casting Ethan Hunt to the wolves that he’s a man without a country or a reliable partner — which is why he’s forced to believe that Ilsa will stand with him at the end of the day despite much circumstantial evidence to the contrary.

Still, those guys are doing relatively well compared with Ethan himself, who barely makes it through the opening credits before he’s accosted in London, tied up and repeatedly pummeled by a chrome-domed torture specialist called the Bone Doctor (Jens Hulten). It’s the work of a wide-ranging shadow organization known simply as the Syndicate (the “rogue nation” of the title), which has been setting off destabilizing waves of violence, civil unrest and catastrophe across the globe, some of which — far-flung industrial accidents, jetliners vanishing into thin air — have deliberately uncomfortable real-world echoes. He cleverly lures out Benji to help try to thwart a Manchurian Candidate-like political assassination that is spectacularly synched up to a performance of Turandot at the Vienna Opera House. He’s cultivated a certain kind of persona which enables him to be the movie star that he is, but at the heart of it is a human being.” Cruise has played IMF agent Ethan Hunt since 1996.

With the CIA believing that Ethan might have been behind this outrage, Brandt slips out of Langley and enlists Ilsa to help track Ethan down before the spooks do. The curtain comes crashing violently down on that episode, but the movie’s second major action sequence is a marvel of precise execution and quietly fraught suspense, forcing Ethan to swim his way into a highly pressurized underwater cavern in order to lay hands on a weapon that could make or break the Syndicate. It wasn’t until the fourth installment in the film franchise was released in 2011 that he got serious about his fitness. “Ever since Ghost Protocol, actually, I’ve kept in shape.

It’s a remarkably taut bit of business (shot on the large-format Alexa 65 6k digital camera), literally breathless in its intensity, yet executed with the sort of deftness and economy may remind you of Ethan’s early reference to the great jazz drummer Shadow Wilson and his famously “light touch.” Even when the characters are diving into giant water turbines or ripping up the streets of Morocco on motorcycles, that intricate, improvisatory lightness is a quality that McQuarrie’s film has in spades. While the “Mission: Impossible” movies have employed a different helmer with each new installment, this is, notably, the first one to be directed and solely written by the same filmmaker — which may explain why, even at a pacey, slightly trimmable 131 minutes, “Rogue Nation” feels like the most dramatically sustained and conceptually unified picture in the series. The second, which is more up Ethan’s (and Cruise’s) usual alley, has him chasing Ilsa — and being chased by the resurgent Syndicate goons — through Casablanca and into the desert on very fast motorcycles driven at very extreme angles. To be sure, McQuarrie isn’t as flamboyant a stylist as his predecessors Brian De Palma and John Woo, and although it shares with “Ghost Protocol” the same superb cinematographer (Robert Elswit), the new film has an altogether darker, more workmanlike palette, with little of the previous film’s eye-tickling compositional flair. (And whereas “Ghost Protocol” boasted 27 staggering minutes of footage shot on Imax cameras, the image stays strictly widescreen in “Rogue Nation,” gaining relatively little from the giant-screen format in which it was screened for review.) But whatever the filmmaking may lack in visual or visceral impact, McQuarrie (whose past collaborations with Cruise include directing “Jack Reacher” and scripting “Edge of Tomorrow”) more than compensates on the written front; his screenplay (based on a story conceived with Drew Pearce) achieves an admirable complexity without sacrificing coherence in the process. In the end, however, it comes down to the old spy game — English-style, involving lies, deception, disguises, subterfuge and (dis)loyalty at very high levels.

It was like great stews and these lovely little dates filled with peanut butter and sprinkled with coconut for snacks, and these little balls of truffle that were great. On the face of it, “Rogue Nation” is another patchwork of Hitchcockian tropes and James Bondian cliches, as familiar as the recurring strains of Lalo Schifrin’s classic musical theme: Carefully encrypted messages are transmitted, bank-account numbers are copied and deleted, and high-tech explosives are armed and disarmed.

Behind the Syndicate lurks a calculating uber-villain (played with understated menace by the protean Sean Harris) deluded enough to confuse mass annihilation with salvation, and even after he’s defeated, the film acknowledges, there will be many others like him waiting in the wings. It was kind of exciting to push it and see if I could be the guy I always wanted to be.” Debunking rumors that Cruise mandated the entire cast follow his diet, the actor explained, “He was like, ‘Here: If you want to do this thing that I do, do it, too.’ It was all him. Everyone is wearing a mask, and not just of the latex variety: As Ethan and Ilsa’s pointed conversations remind us, these agents are professional con artists who must decide anew each day whether they owe their highest allegiance to their cause, their employers, their friends in the field, or the civilians who are always at risk of becoming collateral damage.

The protagonists’ dilemmas are quite extreme, the surprises come in all sizes and the ultra-smooth professionalism displayed in all departments early on encourages the sense that you’re in good hands, a feeling that ends up being justified. A “Mission: Impossible” movie will admittedly never be mistaken for John le Carre, even if this one does feature the marvelous Simon McBurney (a veteran of 2011’s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”) as a high-ranking official whose connections within the British intelligence community run treacherously deep. And so the characters’ sense of defeat becomes a metaphor for the essentially formulaic nature of the action-thriller, calling into question the viability of a genre of which we’ve already seen countless iterations and will certainly see countless more.

The window between Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation was four years, as quick a turnaround as there’s ever been between franchise entries, so at this rate it’s entirely plausible that the actor could have at least one more Mission in him before Ethan retires to a desk job. Ferguson, better known for her work as Queen Elizabeth in television’s The White Queen than for last year’s feature Hercules, makes Ilsa a woman of unquestioned confidence and sang froid; crucially, she credibly convinces whomever she’s working with at the moment that she’s on their side. Whatever combination of stunt work and digital trickery was involved (very little, if reports are to be believed), Cruise remains as deft a physical performer as ever, and projects nary a shred of self-consciousness or vanity; he is, no less than Ethan Hunt himself, an incorrigible daredevil and a consummate professional. Ferguson, a Swedish actress best known for TV productions like “The Red Tent” and “The White Queen,” brings a strong, engaging if not particularly enigmatic presence to a series whose female operatives have never been its strong suit; her iffy chemistry with Cruise is kept further at bay by a story that, aside from some occupationally mandated toplessness, remains strictly within PG-13 boundaries. News caught up with Cruise at the film’s world premiere in Vienna Thursday and asked how he stays in such great shape at age 53. “For different films, whether it’s an action movie or not, making a movie is very demanding.

Baldwin’s blustering, antagonistic CIA man lends the proceedings a welcome punch, while Pegg, previously seen in “Ghost Protocol” as a comic-relief figure with a full arsenal of malfunctioning gadgets, comes fully into his own here as an indispensable and uniquely courageous member of Ethan’s team. Renner and Rhames are rather sidelined by comparison, though they get considerably more screen time than Zhang Jinchu, whose prominently billed, blink-and-you-miss-it performance as a CIA underling feels like a sop to the film’s Asia-based investors, China Movie Channel and Alibaba Pictures Group. I sort of went, ‘Oh, God’…He was sort of my crush when I was young.” After Ferguson learned she had been cast as Ilsa Faust in Rogue Nation, she admitted to being “nervous” to meet Cruise. “I didn’t really know what to expect.

Camera (Deluxe color, Arri Alexa digital, Panavision widescreen, Imax), Robert Elswit; editor, Eddie Hamilton; music, Joe Kraemer; production designer, James Bissell; supervising art director, Paul Inglis; art directors, Andrew Bennett, Stephen Carter, Amanda Dazely, Matt Gray, Ben Munro, Helen Xenopoulos; set decorator, John Bush; costume designer, Joanna Johnston; sound (Dolby Atmos), Chris Munro; supervising sound editor, James Mather; re-recording mixers, Mike Prestwood Smith, Gilbert Lake; special effects coordinator, Dominic Tuohy; visual effects producer, Maricel Pagulayan; visual effects supervisor, Ken Hahn; visual effects, Double Negative; stunt coordinator, Wade Eastwood; associate producers, Thomas Hayslip, Helen Medrano, Pagulayan; assistant directors, Toby Hefferman, Tommy Gormley; second unit director, Gregg Smrz; second unit camera, Jonathan Taylor; underwater camera, Peter Romano; casting, Mindy Marin, Lucinda Syson. Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Simon McBurney, Zhang Jingchu, Tom Hollander, Jens Hulten, Alec Baldwin. (English, German dialogue) The camel was called Barbie, and they called and said, ‘You have 24 hours to fly to London, meet Tom, and fly back and get onto Barbie’s back again.’ So it was more a matter of, you know, just standing up and running and doing it.

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