Mission: Impossible

Mission: Impossible ★★½

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There’s an intricate, Le Carré-esque undercurrent to this extremely 90s actioner that offers a somewhat satisfying counterbalance to its popcorn overtones. Plus you have DePalma’s stylings: the dutch camera angles, the POV shots, the semi-lurid voyeurism, etc., which can feel subversive even if they’re even shallower here than usual. These are among the reasons this has so many defenders, I guess?

But overall this franchise kickstarter feels really misshapen and awkward, hobbled by a lot of characters bouncing back and forth with an odd aimlessness, as well as several glaring unforced errors: the dumb-even-for-1996 use of the Internet; Cruise’s own erratically shouty performance; some incredibly leaden dialogue; and—I’ll never stop complaining about this—the mindbogglingly poor decision to spend the movie with the underwhelming Emmanuelle Béart after jettisoning the vastly more fascinating Kristin Scott Thomas early on. Some things are unforgivable.

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