This movie, with its convoluted punctuation, is a fun way to spend two hours and ten minutes, the downside being that you are nearly required by etiquette to stay in your seat for another twenty minutes. It delivers what we have come to expect from the Mission Impossible franchise: clever twists in the plots, action-packed sequences, and Tom Cruise’s good looks. I smiled broadly at the revealing of the first twist in the film, and that silly grin remained plastered on my face for a good two hours more. The clever, tongue-in-cheek exchanges between Tom Cruise and his cocky CIA counterpart are good for a few laughs, a few classic who’s-wearing-a-mask tricks tickle your apprehension, and the myriad of good looking girls (some of whom are quite handy in a pinch) keep up the glamour which, in justice, should surround a man with Ethan’s talents. I guess there are perks to always being undercover. I guess there is a downside as well: arriving in Kashmir only to find that your ex-wife who has been ‘ghosting’ for years is there with her new lover and is in danger of being killed in a nuclear blast and also of derailing your action driven plot. Thankfully for Cruise, there is nothing more to do than to fly around in a helicopter and then kill the bad guy, all pleasing and distracting cleverness was left behind in the sewers of Paris. It is from Paris onward that the film devolves into a monotonous race against time, and what better way to add intensity than an ex-wife? Nonetheless, Tom Cruise does not disappoint, and is as enjoyable to watch as he ever has been.
Although this movie is thoroughly enjoyable, it is unable to rise beyond the propagandist element. It was made by a German during the Second World War, and it shows. It belabors an Anglophobic message, introducing each German character at length and even spending much time explaining their presence on this English-speaking enterprise. Our hero is a German officer; the true-love story (the only one blind to money) is between two German third-class passengers. According to this story, the ship sank because of a Wall Street (or Fleet Street) feud between the owner and the richest American on board.
Because of this feud, which dominates the first two-thirds of the movie, the actual sinking of the ship is only seen accidentally and as a consequence of British greed. If you missed the implication, it is literally spelt out at the end of the movie. This subservience of the sinking to the propaganda artistically takes away from the tragic nature of the catastrophe; the panic among the passengers and their partially constructed stories are muted throughout the beginning and unfortunately rushed at the end.
The acting and directing are quite good; in an effort to first immerse the audience in the glamour and arrogance of British industrial might and then in the dynamic panic and rush of disaster, Titanic is shot in such a way that nearly every shot is magnificently layered and crowds and mobs are frequently moving in the background. This gives a certain spectacular effect which the British film A Night to Remember does not match, but takes away from the necessary impression that these characters are people who are each facing their end in their own way. As for special effects, which demand a note, Titanic too clearly uses a model and thus there is a separation between the ship’s floundering and the characters affected.