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Quite a Reach – A review of Jack Reacher

Updated on January 3, 2013
Rosamund Pike and Tom Cruise star in the mystery thriller Jack Reacher, based on the books by Lee Child
Rosamund Pike and Tom Cruise star in the mystery thriller Jack Reacher, based on the books by Lee Child

Summary: Convoluted and even a little bit far-fetched, but an entertaining mystery with interesting sub-connotations. Tom Cruise may not be the ideal Jack Reacher, but he’s passable.

Admittedly, I have never read a Jack Reacher novel. I do plan to now, though. I had the privilege of sitting next to a Lee Child fan in the theater who educated me on the nuances of the novels during the end credits.

While Tom Cruise may not be the ideal Jack Reacher, he certainly manages to pull the role together for the big screen. The character is aloof and unreadable for the most part, which is a role that uniquely suits Cruise.

His character is called in when an Army vet named Barr (Joseph Sikora) is accused of gunning down five people in a public park in Pittsburgh. The evidence is both compelling and overwhelming against the accused, but there are reasons we find out that prove he could not have done the deed and is being set up.

Enter Reacher, also an Army vet, but one who has completely dropped off the grid. The authorities want to know as much about Reacher as they do about the killer. Unfortunately for them, there just isn’t enough information about the ex-military police officer.

So who’s the real culprit? Is it the overzealous DA (Richard Jenkins) who wants to put the killer on death row? Or is it the obsessed cop (David Oyelowo) who wants to find something to charge Reacher with so he can be held?

Or is it someone else? Only the plot will tell.

Along for the ride is Rosamund Pike as the defense attorney trying simply to keep Barr off death row. She’s not convinced that he didn’t do it, and her goal isn’t to exonerate Barr but rather to save his life. Given the beating he takes, though, at the beginning of the film, that may be a worse sentence than death, anyway.

She has an additional complication, though. She’s also the daughter of the D.A. If her father IS the culprit, will she be willing to see him put away?

The story is fraught with twists and plot diversions that eventually lead to the revelation that we expect, but it’s not a predictable ending, either, which helps the story tremendously.

Watch for the cameo of Lee Child, who plays a desk sergeant at the precinct where Reacher is first arrested. The film is compelling, but not as riveting as I had hoped. I give Jack Reacher 3-12 out of 5 stars.

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