Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, film review: A thriller reboot so old-school we can still boo the Russians
(12A) Kenneth Branagh, 105 mins Starring: Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner, Kenneth Branagh
For all its gadgetry and post-9/11 references, Kenneth Branagh's venture into Tom Clancy spy-film territory is an enjoyably old-fashioned affair with more than a whiff of John Buchan about it.
Branagh strikes a relentless narrative tempo. It only takes him minutes to whisk us from the London School of Economics (where Chris Pine's Jack Ryan is studying when the Twin Towers are attacked) to Afghanistan (where he goes as a marine in 2003), and then on to Wall Street, where he becomes a banker and covert CIA analyst after surviving horrific injuries. Keira Knightley is the beautiful surgeon who has helped nurse him back to health and has become his fiancée. Kevin Costner plays Ryan's CIA handler.
The fact that the Russians are the villains adds to the film's nostalgic feel (but won't help box-office receipts in Moscow). Branagh himself gives an enjoyably tongue-in-cheek performance as Russian banker Viktor Cherevin, who is plotting the collapse of the dollar. He's an ardent nationalist who reads Lermontov and believes fervently in the great Russian soul, yet doesn't think twice about torturing enemies by getting them to chew on 40-watt bulbs.
At times, this Jack Ryan thriller seems stuck in a netherworld between James Bond and Jason Bourne. Ryan isn't as flamboyant as the former or as hardbitten as the latter. Even so, Branagh demonstrates that ripping yarns about square-jawed spies will never quite lose their currency.
TV reviewGrace Dent: Jimmy McGovern's new drama sheds light on sex slavery in the colonies
Eurovision 2015Australian Idol winner unveiled as representative Down Under
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 2 Kate Moss: Previously unpublished nude photo revealed by Mert and Marcus
- 3 Indian woman creates 'Marriage CV' after parents put her on dating site: 'Definitely not marriage material. Won’t grow long hair, ever'
- 4 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 5 Bad Jews poster 'censored' on London Tube
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Elif Shafak: Turkish author warns against rise of British nationalism
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'