MISSION IMPOSSIBLE ROGUE NATION – Review by Susan Granger

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This fifth incarnation of the “Mission Impossible” franchise begins with a spectacular, pulse-pounding stunt in which IMF agent Ethan Hunt climbs aboard a huge A-400 cargo plane as it’s taking off. Yes, that’s really Tom Cruise! And the thrill-ride fun is just beginning…Read on…

Ethan is in the middle of a mission when he discovers that a stealthy group of terrorists, known as The Syndicate, led by coldly sinister Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), are working discredit the IMF by insidiously recruiting former intelligence operatives from around the world to destabilize countries and ‘eliminate’ major international figures.

Problem is: no one will be believe him, particularly incoming CIA chief, Alan Huntley (Alec Baldwin), who discredits him and the entire operation.

Enter mysterious Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), a lithe femme fatale, ostensibly from Britain’s MI6, who has infiltrated the Syndicate, yet may or may not be playing both sides. But since she resourcefully saves Ethan’s life – not once but twice – that earns her some credibility with suspicious IMF operatives (Jeremy Renner, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg).

Adding unexpected touches of humor, writer/director Christopher McQuarrie (“Jack Reacher”) superbly crafts the intricate, fast-paced espionage suspense, building to several dynamic highpoints, elegantly photographed by Robert Elswit.

There’s an eye-popping assassination attempt in the Vienna Opera House during a performance of Puccini’s “Turandot;” Ethan’s daring dive into a whirling maelstrom, holding his breath during a perilous underwater retrieval; and an intrepid car-and-bike chase in Morocco – plus other stunning surprises along the way.

Effectively at the top of his game, vital-yet-vulnerable Tom Cruise is heroically resilient, often matched stunt-for-stunt by stunning Sweden’s Rebecca Ferguson, whose name ‘Ilse’ evokes memories of another enigmatic Swede, Ingrid Bergman, in “Casablanca.”

Fittingly, Joe Kraemer’s propulsive score includes strains of Lalo Schifrin’s original TV series theme.

FULL DISCLOSURE: My son, Don Granger, produced this movie.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” is a taut 10, the most exciting action-adventure of the summer.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.