I come here not to bury him, but Instead to tell you that I have a lot of time for him. Or his on-screen persona. If I were to get hyper-analytical about the private people behind the celluloid projection, there’s a damn good chance that I’d never see another film at the cinema. Tom Cruise is someone that I’ve just always quite liked.
Perhaps this is generational. I grew up in the seventies and eighties, so I was at the perfect age to see flicks like “Risky Business”, “Top Gun” and “The Colour of Money” – films which helped build the Tom Cruise persona to the point where he became a Movie Star who was almost a sure thing at the box office.
He took chances and made films – “Born on the Fourth of July”, “Interview With The Vampire”, latterly “Magnolia” – which did interesting things with his image and with the way that we view him. He was certainly a movie star throughout much of the 80’s and 90’s, but at some point he decided to be unafraid to play unsympathetic characters, which saw him take on a straight-out villainous role in “Collateral”, which ranks amongst the best work that he’s done.
When he’s in his unapologetic movie star garb, he’s managed to make some of my favourite films – We’ve mentioned “Top Gun” previously, but I really enjoyed “The Firm” when it opened back in the early nineties for his part in making a John Grisham adaptation somewhat more exciting than a story essentially driven by photocopying and filing needed to be. You’ve got to hand it to an actor who can make you root for a junior solicitor. That, my friends, is talent.
The movie’s out on December 26th and has the added benefit – if you don’t count Brad Bird directing as reason enough to go and see it – of having a six minute precursor to “The Dark Knight Rises” attached to the Imax prints.
Tom Cruise – he’s still got it. How so? Author Lee Child agreed to the casting of Cruise as his hero Jack Reacher even though he’s, how shall we say, not exactly a physical match for the resourceful lone wanderer from the books. If he can convince an author – someone presumably fairly protective of their character, down to the physical resemblance of the fellow – that a 5’7″ fellow can play a 6’5″ former military policeman then I think it behoves us all to cut him slack.