The film begins with gripping scenes and haunting music ... Fighter jets landing, powerful spiritual music that is sad and almost like a funeral - setting the tone for what is to come. Ben Affleck plays the CIA agent Jack Ryan to perfection. There is great casting for all the major roles and key characters in the book. Although in the book, the city of Denver is the location used by terrorists for the attack, the choice of Baltimore, Maryland makes sense, since there is a port which clearly can be the point of entry for contraband. The fact is the film remains true to the intentions and spirit of Tom Clancy's book. There is political maneuvering, espionage, edge-of-your seat gripping moments after the attack and a very well executed plot. Suspense builds and the story unfolds ... The topic is fascinating and timely. It is almost like the "007" films of old ... You more or less know what to expect, but the ride is so engaging, you are caught up in the drama and events.
A nuclear bomb is discovered in the desert by a bedouin, left buried from a downed airplane during the '73 Israeli War. He suspects it has some value and can make money by selling it. An agent purchases it for a mere pittance, vastly less than its true worth ... so realistic. After the unexpected death of the Russian President, his replacement is investigated by the CIA. The US President, his advisors and the CIA are busy extracting information about this relative "dark horse" to discover his stand on the major issues. In the past, Jack Ryan had written a paper on him, extrapolating his views on world events ... He accompanies a delegation from the US to visit Russia and ensure nuclear disarmament is going according to plans. Each side assesses the opposition with wary reminders of the past ever in the forefront of their minds ... How difficult it was to learn about Soviet arms during the cold war, US agents had died trying to access .information ... now a delegation was freely being shown the labs, nuclear reactor and storage facilties. Times had indeed changed ...
The US President attends a filled to capacity football stadium in Baltimore, MD when suddenly, unexpectedly and rapidly Secret Agents usher him out ... A huge explosion occurs, with the mushroom cloud indicating a nuclear bomb went off. During the disaster, Jack Ryan seeks his superior, only to find him taking his last breath. He pays his last respects and uses his cell phone and ID bage to enter the White House. Jack had discovered irrefutable evidence that proves it was *not* a Russian attack. The nuclear substance originated in the United States. The fingerprints of the explosion and subsequent fall out are positive proof. However, suspense builds as the US President and Russian President are on stand-by preparing for war ... trying to read each others motives for action. The unraveling of the peace accords takes minutes although it took years and years to create peace and disarmament. The difficult decisions faced by the US President are depicted superbly ... The raw emotions arising during such a national disaster are naturally conveyed. The only failure in the film is the choice of selecting a disgruntled fascist group as the culprits for the attack. Keeping it closer to the story line in the book would have paid off huge dividends in the short and long run. In the years following 2001 and the Sept. 11th attack, using ancient history such as Nazi-like fascists as the enemy just does not seem credible. This is why it reminds me of the "007" films. Despite this one major flaw, for which I deducted one star, the film was a hit with this viewer. I highly recommend it.
Erika Borsos [pepper flower