6 Aug 2015

At The Movies: Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Irrational Man, Les Combattants

From At The Movies, 7:30 pm on 6 August 2015

Mission Impossible

Simon Morris goes to the latest Mission Impossible blockbuster, Rogue Nation, starring Tom Cruise, and yet another Woody Allen film, Irrational Man. The surprise winner though is a little French film called Les Combattants.

The Big Picture with Simon Morris

Surely I can’t get into too much trouble if I suggest that people’s tastes differ. One interesting division is between fans of fact and fiction. Some of my best friends don’t read fiction at all. If it’s not true, they say, why bother? Personally I like my truth filtered through imaginative fiction, but that’s just me. Though it does raise the question, what actually is a story?

Hollywood – particularly the Blockbuster Departments of Hollywood studios – still has a touching faith in the concept of stringing one thing after another, and then slapping a star at the front. More of Mission Impossible later.

Meanwhile Woody Allen continues his hit-or-miss career in a story with a big theme – in this case the shortcomings of academic philosophy. But Irrational Man proves once again that Woody films only work when the characters are more interesting than the high concept.

Good stories don’t have to be especially complicated or event-driven. Sometimes they’re simply about a couple of attractive characters blundering from Point A to Point B. Like an unpretentious little French charmer called Les combatants – written, directed and starring, nobody you’ve ever heard of. At the other end of the spectrum is the latest Mission Impossible…

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