Two Hoots for Tom Cruise

New Yorker recently called him “the good kind of crazy“.
The husband said “go fall in love with him again”.
Two Hoots for Tom Cruise_Image via
In college cafeteria debates when he was pitted against Pitt, I always sided with Tom Cruise. He was formulaic, chiselled, too handsome to be any good as an actor. But I watched everything, even Vanilla Sky, or especially, because he was semi-naked in parts, though Eyes Wide Shut is better for that. And including the time we (then boyfriend, now husband, who makes an exception for Cruise starrers to his ‘Nothing below 7.5 rating’ for movie viewing) ran across an empty parking lot, chased by questions from napping bus drivers, to watch the first day first show of The Last Samurai.

Something went amiss when he became a Scientology crusader & to my mind went cuckoo. I was done, with reading everything about him. The films? That was another story.

Reprising his role as Ethan Hunt in the fifth instalment of the Mission Impossible series, he’s joined by the usual company of comic sidekick, trusted friends & a brand new leggy lass, this time taking on a ‘rogue’ former British Intelligence agent.

Adrenaline rush entry, check. High speed chase, in a car & bike, check. Masking, unmasking, check. You could not see it and still know everyone gets out alive.

On a Sunday afternoon in a movie hall full to the brim, Tom Cruise’s wide screen entry received whistles once reserved for gyrating sirens. Toddlers and octogenarians were also in attendance, to watch a quintessential Hollywood blockbuster, not the film, but the man. Jumping on Oprah’s couch in real life and, off tall buildings & flying airplanes & down into shafts in films, he is the entertainer who wants you to forget what you had for lunch. He does his own stunts and wants everyone to know that. This series in particular is his way of celebrating his awesomeness, while leaving no time for analysis, discourse, comprehension. You sit, watch, leave.

This is not Color of Money or A Few Good Men, opposite stalwarts like Paul Newman & Jack Nicholson. It is Tom’s world, where no one, not even the villain, overshadows him, quite unlike action packed thrillers in recent times like Heath Ledger as the Joker in Christopher Nolan directed Dark Knight or Javier Bardem’s slow, studied evil form against Daniel Craig’s Bond in Skyfall.

Mission Impossible is not the platform for anyone else to shine, to play the anti-hero, to lead an audience astray. In this self-created world, Ethan Hunt is Tom Cruise –  pure good, unmatched, and, as Alec Baldwin will tell us at the fag end of the film, “destiny”.

Few will complain or question. Off screen he may have missed the Golden Statuette thrice, but for many movie-goers filing out as the familiar M.I. soundtrack comes on, he had them at “Hello”. And if the end is anything to go by, we’ll be seeing him again, soon.

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