The Mission: Impossible movies have been a game of one-upmanship among the four different directors in the series. But it’s Brad Bird, a filmmaker best known for the animated features The Iron Giant and The Incredibles, who tops them all with the biggest, boldest, and most audacious Ethan Hunt adventure yet.
Hunt (Cruise, in a return to action-hero form), as usual, is on the wrong side of the U.S. government, and he and his team of spy operatives are blamed for the bombing of the Kremlin. The film’s plot is about restoring their names and, of course, saving the world in the process.
Michael Fassbender appeared in four films last year. His best role among the quadrumvirate was also his riskiest: a New York City sex addict whose controlled life disintegrates after his sister (Carey Mulligan, also terrific) moves in.
Fassbender is creepy and pathetic, a damaged character difficult to like, and the script by Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady) doesn’t give us reason to, either. Shame is rated NC-17, and there is a considerable amount of nudity, but an honest film about sexual addiction wouldn’t have worked without it.
Old School Flick Now on DVD
Tom Selleck was originally cast as Indiana Jones, but his TV commitment to Magnum, P.I. kept him from the role. If you’re curious about how Selleck would have fared as an action-adventurer, check out 1983’s High Road to China, co-starring Bess Armstrong.
Real Life John le Carré
Filmmaker Carl Colby examines the life of his super-secretive father in the acclaimed documentary The Man Nobody Knew: In Search of My Father, CIA Spymaster William Colby.