Monday, April 15, 2024

Mission Impossible Terrific Action Film- And It Gives Tom Cruise’s Sister a Job, Too


Tom Cruise isn’t the only member of his family to be employed thanks to “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.” His sister, Cass Mapother Capazorio, is billed in the credits as his paid assistant. Cass’s third husband, Greg Capazorio, runs Scientology’s Criminon– that’s the branch that recruits ex cons into the cult. All of Tom’s sisters, their children, and his mother are embedded in Scientology. It would take the IMF to get them out!

Luckily, Scientology is not expressed on the screen in “Rogue Nation,” an otherwise very fun big studio hit, the kind of summer popcorn movie that recalls the best of the four prior “Mission Impossible” movies and the TV series from the 60s and 70s. (There are many nods to the series this time, which is maybe why “Rogue Nation” works so well.)

“Rogue Nation” is also blessed with a terrific cast in the IMF team– Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, and Ving Rhames, as well as Simon McBurney, Sean HarrisĀ  and Alec Baldwin. But director Christopher McQuarrie has scored big time with Swedish-British actress Rebecca Ferguson. The take away in “Rogue Nation”– aside from Tom Cruise’s physical fitness and derring -do– is Ferguson’s Lauren Bacall-like presence. Pretty much unknown except for the mini series “The White Queen,” Ferguson is launched here like a rocket. She is sensational.

With his characters fully delineated, and a (thankfully) streamlined plot, McQuarrie can concentrate on more important things: the look and sound of the film. Robert Elswit, repeating from MI4: Ghost Protocol, gives Cruise’s Ethan Hunt and co. dreamy visuals and rich panoramics. And as usual, the music is integral to “Mission Impossible.” Lalo Schifrin’s original theme is like a character unto itself at this point. Plus, Puccini’s “Nessum Dorma” from “Turandot”– ubiquitous at this point– still works like a charm to underscore a lot of the action. I like that McQuarrie makes the audience listen to a good deal of opera.

But it’s the set pieces that will bring people in. Some have little dialogue. But watching Cruise hanging from an airplane, or holding his breath for six minutes under water, etcetera– these are are the showpieces. You won’t want to miss them. Cruise throws himself into these things with abandon, and he looks great doing them.

Will all his outside craziness matter? In the end, no. It’s different for journalists. I’ve been blocked from Cruise’s Twitter page, and I wasn’t allowed into the early screening or premiere of the film because of my writing about Scientology. I can take it, and it doesn’t matter to filmgoers. “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” is a movie’s movie. I enjoyed it thoroughly.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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