Previous Joints

Friday, 30 August 2013

Tom Cruise: The Great

While watching Oblivion, I found out some very interesting information from my other half. “Do you know that Tom Cruise made Katie Holmes have a baby in silence?” Truth is, I didn’t know that. I accepted my lady’s premise that, if true, this was cruel. Even if that was the case I failed, and still fail, to see why I should care and why that should influence my feelings on Oblivion.

For the record, Oblivion is a good film – not spectacular, just good. It’s a comfort blanket of a film. Nothing about the film is remotely surprising, whether it be negative or positive. Most importantly, Tom Cruise is his usual competent and reliable Hollywood superstar self. But the way my missus made it sound, that just isn’t enough anymore.

In fact, it isn’t just the missus who has beef with Tom, have a look the public discussions about Mr Cruise for the past decade, I wager the majority of it has little to do with his on screen exploits and more to do with what religion he follows.

I get that people want to read about Tom’s big bad thugs spying on Katie or a woman who says she was auditioned to be his wife – all of this is sexy tabloid stuff and is to be expected when you have reached the status Cruise has. It no longer holds people’s attention to just be good at your job, they want something more interesting and Tom Cruise’s personal life is just that… apparently.

The press are doing to Tom Cruise exactly the same as what they did to Michael Jackson. They are trying to find the Wacko in Cruise and as soon as he got on top of that famous black lady’s sofa, they had their fodder.

It also doesn’t help that Cruise hasn’t had the greatest of film runs after that PDA moment – Lions for Lamb, Valkyrie, Knight and Day and Rock of Ages are beneath his talents. But putting these films to one side, Tom Cruise still has a stellar filmography post his jumping the Oprah shaped shark. World at War, Mission Impossible 3 and 4, Tropic Thunder, Jack Reacher and the aforementioned Oblivion are not slouch movies, but they don’t stretch Cruise’s acting muscles either. But, again, what is wrong with that? Hasn’t Tom Cruise earned his right to just be good instead of being great?

It is actually shocking when you list the great films and performances Tom Cruise has under his belt. You almost have to double check to see whether you have it right or whether you are thinking about another actor.

This guy has Risky Business, Top Gun, Rain Man and Born on the Fourth of July on his CV. After this he goes on to make his equivalent to Michael’s Thriller, Beat it and Billie Jean moment with the films A Few Good Men, The Firm and Interview with a Vampire. He doesn’t stop there, after that hot streak he goes on to make Mission Impossible, Jerry Maguire, Eyes Wide Shut and Magnolia. Admittedly after Magnolia his luck ends – if there is anyone on this earth that likes Vanilla Sky, please contact me and let me know why. He does get back on track with the fantastic Minority Report ( a truly wonderful film), the underrated The Last Samurai and a film which keeps getting better with every watch, Collateral.

Collateral is one of the most interesting films in Cruise’s catalogue. It once again shatters the perception that Cruise has one gear as an actor and never takes risks. Like Interview with a Vampire and Magnolia and to a certain extent Rock of Ages, Collateral sees Tom Cruise play against type and to frightening effect.

I am genuinely scared of Cruise’s Vincent and that is a great compliment to an actor who I know is shorter than me and isn’t that physically imposing. You watch that film expecting Mr Cruise to be as charming and charismatic as always, which he is but it is soured by a neck chilling menace which never escapes you from the moment he’s on screen to the moment he takes his last train ride.

I think there is a deep intelligence to his role in Collateral. It is one thing to play a villainous vampire with a cake load of make up on your face and fake teeth, but to convince a world that knows you as the all-conquering hero and Mr Action Man that you are a bad motherf**ker takes a very talented actor indeed. Not many high status leading men in Hollywood can do it – Will Smith, for example, hasn’t showed nearly as much versatility as Cruise.

Do I think Tom Cruise is nuts? Maybe, 
but he’s religious, being nuts comes with the territory? I can’t prove any of the crazy ass stories about his personal life and truth be told, I don’t care. All I know is that Tom Cruise is one of the greatest actors of my life time. I know that to be fact.

Tom Cruise has shown breath taking consistency as an actor, consistency that only few working actors share. A Few Good Men, Collateral and especially Minority Report are some of my favourite films of all time and Cruise was a big reason why I enjoyed those films.

It took the death of Michael Jackson for people to look at his work and ignore his personal life. What people found was, despite his quirkiness (mildly putting it), Jackson was a genius. I hope it doesn't take such an extreme event for people to see the same in Tom Cruise.

                     Mission Bear