Mission Impossible: Fallout 2018 *****

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The Mission Impossible formula has improved with each film, to the point where Rogue Nation was a franchise high. About the only problem with Fallout is that it replicates the elements of the previous film so specifically, but that’s hardly a problem when a perfect summer blockbuster is the result. Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is once again thrown into the action against Solomon Lane (Sean Ellis, last seen being dropped into a glass cube in the previous film). For reasons that are deliberately confusing to explain, Hunt inveigles his way into a terrorist organisation and win the contract to burst his nemesis out of jail. The heist scene, set in Paris, is brilliantly foreshadowed by a scene in which Hunt imagines the consequences of failure; unlike most blockbusters, Fallout sets the stakes, personal and political, at a high level, and all the action, including grandstanding foot, motorbike and helicopter chases, is more intense as a result. The spy-games keep you guessing until a lavish denouement set in the mountains, with rapid toggling between ratios reflecting the influence of Chris Nolan. Chris McQuarrie does a great job here, mixing intrigue, suspense and humour with the deftness of a classic Hollywood film.

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Anthropoid 2016 ***

anthropoidThe truth about the execution of SS General Reinhard Heydrich and the aftermath has been told before, notably Operation Daybreak. Writer/director Sean Ellis attempts to breathe new life into a familiar story with Anthropoid, which takes its name for the operation’s coded title. Cillian Murphy and Jamie Dornan are the two paratroopers who arrive in Prague on a deadly mission, with Toby Jones along to assist. Anthropoid differs from most WWII dramas in giving substantial screen-time to examining the consequences of the assassination, and notably the high price paid by those Czechs who assisted. There’s a brief lapse into sentiment that might have been better avoided, and the final church siege seems a little overblown. But for much of it’s length, Anthropoid is an effective update on one of WWII’s most brutal events.