Genre: Action, Thriller
Directed By: Mimi Leder
Starring: George Clooney, Nicole Kidman
Made in 1997, although very much relevant in today’s world, The Peacemaker stars George Clooney and Nicole Kidman in this action thriller revolving around potential terrorist attacks in New York. The film takes us to a variety of countries as our two leads hunt down the men responsible for selling nuclear warheads to those hell bent on causing pain and disruption to a country they feel is responsible for destroying their families lives.
The Peacemaker opens with a brilliant opening sequence where a corrupt Russian General steals nine nuclear war heads from a train transporting them across the country. In an attempt to cover up their actions they set off one of the bombs in the process, killing up to 15,000 people. The cover up however is not successful and Lt Tom Devoe (Clooney) sees straight through the smoke screen and, upon briefing the acting advisor Dr Julia Kelly (Kidman), the two dart off across the World on the trail of the missing warheads, both using very opposite techniques to find their answers. From Vienna to Eastern Europe to New York City, Clooney and Kidman do all they can to prevent one of the biggest disasters to occur in western civilisation.
For starters there is nothing particularly original about this film. The premise is a slight variation on something we’ve seen so many times before. The problem with this is in the writing where included throughout are several clichéd moment that we’ve seen in many films of the same era. For example we have the typical cursing every time something bad is said or a gun is fired, we have the typical screaming sidekick teamed up with the unfazed hard man (Kidman and Clooney). We also have the run ‘with only ten seconds to spare’ and jump as the bomb explodes in the background, as a matter of fact we have that twice. It’s a slight shame considering the opening sequence is very well done, but the pacing from there just drags until the next set piece which is then followed again by slow pacing before the next set piece.
This can only be a fault in the writing, where we are literally given all the stereotypes of this type of film in one two-hour block. The best part about the writing is the B story involving a diplomat who has an agenda for his deadly act. The story is dripped in slowly at the beginning and then brought to the forefront for the final act. It’s the best part about the story as it is something slightly different than your typical Russian baddie plot. However it isn’t particularly the norm that a B story actually completely overtakes the main plot of a film for the final thirty minutes. It makes the opening ninety minutes feel a little clunky and shows how weak the main plot actually is.
Some of these issues could be down to the direction, which although not entirely bad does seem a little flat. Mimi Leder does manage to get a decent performance from Clooney, but Kidman doesn’t seem out of her comfort zone. The opening sequence is very well directed and the music really adds to the drama, but the other action sequences seem pretty lifeless, especially the chase scene through the streets of Vienna. Also noticed whilst watching was the amount of time taken to chase this man through New York, without the bomb going off, when he had put a time limit on the bomb for a much shorter amount of time. The entire third act, which is about twenty minutes of screen time, told us it was only about seven minutes in their world. It was definitely not plausible and there is a way they could have got over this.
The film isn’t entirely bad, but there is enough wrong with it to make it not particularly good. The tired clichés really take over after such a promising start to proceedings. The film could have, and probably should have, been better but the lifeless way in which the story was told and the dull action sequences really hindered any possibilities the film could have had. The music was one of the standout points, composed by Hans Zimmer. As someone familiar with his more current work, it’s very obviously ‘Zimmer’ and the soundtrack booms over every tiny piece of action; unfortunately the action fails to live up to the score.
I can’t particularly say I was disappointed with this film, as the opening scene was definitely one I was pleased to have seen, but I could have happily turned it off after the opening twenty minutes and would have ended up seeing a much better film.