Thursday 21 December 2023

Movie Review: The Peacemaker (1997)

Genre: Geopolitical Thriller
Director: Mimi Leder
Starring: George Clooney, Nicole Kidman
Running Time: 124 minutes

Synopsis: In Russia, nuclear warheads slated for decommissioning are diverted to the black market by the corrupt General Kodoroff, who covers his tracks by detonating one device in the Ural mountains. In the United States, head of the National Security Council Nuclear Smuggling Group Dr. Julia Kelly (Nicole Kidman) is placed in charge of the government response, with Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Devoe (George Clooney) her military liaison. They relocate to Europe to track down the missing nukes, uncovering a plot involving a Balkan leader seeking a special kind of revenge.

What Works Well: This fast-paced thriller is a James Bond-type intercontinental chase with more grit and no gadgets. Director Mimi Leder delivers several excellent action scenes with minimal special effects, including the prolonged opening train heist, a bone-jarring car chase in Vienna, a superlative truck-on-a-bridge sequence, and the final breathless foot chase. The antagonist is provided with enough background context to register as a purveyor of anguished doom, while George Clooney and Nicole Kidman add the necessary star power.

What Does Not Work As Well: The logic gaps are often large, including the entire US government response being entrusted to the inexperienced Dr. Kelly. The Americans make every correct just-in-time deduction to perfectly set the stage for the next highlight.

Conclusion: A slick, effective, and anxiety-packed thriller.

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