Movie Reacher, where did you go wrong?
Guest post by Vicki Waterhouse: It's not that I didn't want to like the Jack Reacher movie. I really did. But it became a fruitless pursuit not long into the screen adaptation of Lee Child's One Shot.
First, for some background, I need to say I am a huge Jack Reacher fan. I've read all of Child's books and openly had a crush on his beautiful main character since I began. I only discovered the books after about 15 had already been written, so I systematically ploughed through them from the beginning, getting swept away into Reacherland as he developed, kicking ass along the way. So it was with an informed mind that I went to see Jack Reacher - starring the man possibly hated by more Jack Reacher fans than any other bizarre sect of society - Tom Cruise.
When I picture Reacher in my mind, what materialises is something like this: a 6'5" giant, almost as wide as he is tall (in a strapping kind of way, rather than a burger-eating kind of way) with a square jaw and a nose that looks as though it's been broken a few times. What I got on the screen was a 5'7" middle-aged man with - while yes, it was an unattractive nose, not one that looked as though it had been broken several times (despite all the couch jumping), a smooth face and despite all the makeup to help transform him into Reacher, a vibe that screamed "pretty boy".
Fighting is one thing Reacher is good at. Everywhere he goes, he's righting wrongs and protecting the weak. So I was expecting something beautiful when Cruise lined himself up for his first fight. But he seemed to lack the grace and flair of Reacher (I realise I'm talking about a fictional character, but again - it's what I get from the book!). He didn't have the skills to pay the bills. Yes, he beat men down left, right and centre, but I just straight up felt that Cruise wasn't a gifted fighter.
Even speaking as Reacher didn't do Cruise any favours. Reacher's man points are off the scale, and part of that is his voice - it just needs to be low. Cruise's is not. I also missed the Reacher internal monologue and I realise this has something to do with limited screen time. It meant that instead of being immersed in Reacher's way of life - that he knows the time without having to look at his watch, that he remembers details like numbers after one glance - it had to be made glaring and obvious, and thus, in my opinion, tasteless.
And a comparison of the book to the movie, without talking about Cruise? I feel book Reacher has a subtle confidence. He knows he can destroy all who cross him, but he's not that over-the-top with his bravado. In the movie, Cruise talks himself up and it goes way beyond subtle. Disapproval from my camp. And where was the sex scene? Reacher is a lady killer and you wouldn't really know it from watching this movie. Sexual tension, yes, sex scene - no. Failure!
I realise there needs to be room for artistic licence. I also realise that Lee Child himself approved Tom Cruise for playing Reacher. But having immersed myself in all of the books, I just found myself judging and judging every step of the way.
What do you think of movie Reacher vs. book Reacher?