Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.” I just wasn’t moved by it. There are so many intuitive avenues a movie centered on the dissolution of a government agency the filmmakers could’ve taken, yet the plot for this particular installment was very simple like a naïve child. (Let’s just get on our knees for a minute and thank God it wasn’t as bad as “Avengers: Age of Ultron” because Lord knows it could’ve been). Don’t misread me though. I don’t mean the movie is immature because of the low comedy—which was admittedly pretty funny. No, I mean the movie was unsophisticated even as they chose to select a femme fatale that was, which is very much in the vein of Alfred Hitchcock—more on that later. The intellectual underpinnings of the movie are just as important as its content. Ilsa Faust’s (Rebecca Ferguson) leap-into-the-air-and-scissor strangles, motorcycle grand prix, and a lot of bullet fire do not make up for a weak and unsatisfying story. Indeed what is a beautiful edifice if its architecture is flawed in more one ways than one?
I will concede however Alfred Hitchcock’s influence in the film is very apparent. The close shots of Ilsa’s coming betrayal when Benji (Simon Pegg) remarks he misjudged her is plucked from the master’s own oeuvre. Then when director Atlee (Simon McBurney) forces her to commit more acts that go against her morality halfway through the movie, we really see the Professor (Leo G. Carrell) from “North by Northwest.” This revelation is interesting because apart of what made North by Northwest such a remarkable film was the fact that Hitchcock played against the audience’s expectation in the desert scene by planting the main character Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) in the heart of an abyss away from the city and his technology. But in this fifth rendition, the climactic ending is shrouded in fog and darkness. This is one reason why I find the film unrewarding: it doesn’t make me think very much. With an action film of this nature, naturally the filmmakers are supposed to made good on some of the conventions a genre promises its audience. But that is not necessarily an excuse for a lack of ingenuity or creativity. Simply put director McQuarrie could’ve done better.
Once again Tom Cruise places himself in considerable danger that other actors would’ve pleaded a stuntman to perform. Cruise is a man who knows no boundary. As the film was winding down (when it should have been building up to a climax might I add), Ethan’s luckiness, his disposition to play God, and the efficacy of his past missions being attributed to pure luck is hammered down our throats. But I felt these insults were leveled more at Tom Cruise the man, rather than Ethan Hunt the character. Hanging onto to the outside of a mammoth plane for a couple of shots that we will soon forget about in the cacophony of Vienna opera houses and scripted fight scenes, Cruise as gone from dauntless to megalomaniacal.
Anyway I loved Rebecca Ferguson. She isn’t like the typical American lead actress who flaunts her sexuality in such a provocative way, you feel uncomfortable if you went to see this movie with family members. She is an elegant lady in my opinion and her grace is subtle yet entrancing. The very kind of woman Hitch searched for in his movies: think Eve Marie Saint or Grace Kelly. Sean Harris as Lane was also pretty terrifying. If you enjoyed playing in the sandbox as a little one, you’ll probably enjoy this movie too. After all it’s just child’s play.