While 1997's prescient "Peacemaker" is a piercing wakeup call with early echoes of 9-11 and weapons of mass destruction, it is also an instrument of propaganda that could easily have oozed out of America's trigger-happy military-industrial complex. But it also goes beyond both of these cliches to try to achieve an understanding of the subverted forces fighting each other in our ever churning world.
Politics not withstanding, this is just about the finest, tightest thriller I have ever seen, and extremely fast paced. It was Dreamworks' first major thriller, a home run that vaults way out of the ballpark! They did it right. Congratulations to Mimi Leder for a first rate job. Among the many German crew members, Hans Zimmer's score is one of his best. Or anyone's best, complete with full choir.
From first frame to last, Peacemaker is a film of razor-sharp pacing, superb casting, spectacular stunts, and incredible locations. It stimulates the brain on the most primitive and sophisticated levels, as the best films should -- a sensory delight of sound, music, facial expressions, graphic action, and delightful camerawork, and crisp and often funny use of language.
I found this film totally believable. From a standpoint of cast, script, and score, we clearly have here a labor of love.
First, let's talk about George Clooney as Lt. Colonel Tom Devoe. Clooney's never been in anything this good before or since. Mimi Leder brings out the best in George. His role summons superlative comparisons such as Alec Baldwin in Red October. Or William Shatner as Captain Kirk. Will the feat ever be repeated? Heroes like this don't come along every day.
Clooney is in his element, whether screaming expletives into a helicopter radio, or testifying before a congressional committee.
I nominate Clooney's peak moments in the film were when he 1) "excuse me I hate to keep interrupting" in the congressional briefing and 2) when he captures those warheads on the Russian bridge. Righteous! He has the most important neck of any actor in Hollywood, living or dead.
Kidman, with her sharp, aggressive, professional feminity, lights up the screen! Sorry, there just wasn't time for romance or love in this life-threatening story.
From the moody richness of a a train chugging through the dark Ukrainian forest, to the crowded streets of New York, Peacemaker is rich in imagery and texture.
Look closely. There are no extras. Nothing is generic or stock. Everyone on the screen, from lead actor to those many people in the background, render perfectly convincing performances! Even minor non-speaking roles were delivered with utter authenticity.
After the sensational Mercedes car chase in Vienna and the helicopter pursuit in Russia, the pursuit of Bosnian diplomat Dusan Gavrich in the streets of New York brings the film to it's desparate climax.
The only thing I found hokey and overblown was when the Russian General Aleksandr Kodoroff first steps out of his vehicle in the smoky train station; it seemed rather staged.
But forget that. This is one of the best thrillers ever made. Intelligent, thought provoking, and precise.