This review contains spoilers, and your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read it in its entirety and then share it. Good? Good.
We start off in a beautiful and small wedding ceremony between the always reliable Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and Julia (Michelle Monaghan). Ethan is obviously in love with her, and she, responding to the vows, loves him back. She promises to love him til death do they part. She promises to risk her life for him. She promises to go into hiding and pretend like nothing just uprooted her life and made her a ghost citizen of the world.
All of which happened to her in previous installments of the franchise and that still haunts Ethan as terrible, terrible mistakes he should have been able to stop.
Her promises to Ethan in their ceremony get more and more outrageous and Ethan, visibly flustered and hoping she stops, suddenly wakes from a fitful slumber in what looks like an empty warehouse to receive his next mission: track down stolen plutonium. As always, he accepts. There is no question to that. Ethan will always accept the missions because he knows he is the only one capable for the job. He knows that if he stops, all his struggles, all his strife (which has reached into his personal life) will be for naught. So he carries on and goes to do a deal with some rather questionable characters alongside Luther (Ving Rhames) and Benji (Simon Pegg).
What’s a trade-off without gunshots, betrayal, and an unknown third-party that happens to know what is going on and where? In the ensuing chaos, Ethan decides to save his friends from certain death instead of religiously guarding the plutonium. He places their lives above the goal of the mission, and it ends up backfiring as the plutonium is taken out of his hands by the secretive and terroristic Apostles, who threaten to plunge the world into nuclear fallout (hence the title of the movie, bunch of clever chaps we have in the writing room, aye?) in order to bring about peace through suffering.
Ethan and his team continue to attempt to find the plutonium, going so far as to capture and trick Nils Debruuk (Kristoffer Joner) into revealing what he knows about its whereabouts. They do a massive skit pretending that they are reading his manifesto to the world on the news, when it is really just Benji in a highly realistic, cinema worthy mask of a well-known news anchor.
So continues their search for the plutonium with a name they find digging through Debruuk’s files: John Lark. Just as Ethan is about to head out for Paris, a quick meeting with IMF Secretary Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) is cut short by the arrival of Erika Sloane (Angela Bassett), the Director of the CIA. She refuses to allow Ethan to continue his mission because of his earlier failure and only allows its continuation with the addition of her pawn to the team: August Walker (Henry Cavill).
Ethan begrudgingly agrees and they enter the amazing scene of them jumping out of the plane (Tom Cruise actually did this stunt in real life, jumping out of the plane at incredible winds following down the cameraman all the way to the end) and onto the roof of their targeted party.
Ethan and Walker manage to find their person of interest, John Lark. But one bloody bathroom scene later and they no longer have this person of interest and their window of opportunity to retrieve the plutonium gets smaller and smaller.
So Ethan does the most logical thing: he pretends to be John Lark to continue the business deal with the White Widow (Vanessa Kirby). He manages to sneak into her private party room and they escape to her house of dealing.
It’s around here that we get subplot A where Walker passes fabricated information criminalizing Ethan Hunt that takes us completely out of the story but aims to tie itself in at a later point. Which it does, but this omniscient perspective is a noticeable break from the story-telling after religiously following Ethan for the better half of the movie.
Back to the White Widow and Ethan Hunt, she offers him a hard bargain. One that Ethan is loathe to accept, but John Lark should be happy to oblige: in exchange for the plutonium, since the White Widow is just the inbetweener, the broker if you will, she does not have it. The actual dealer is willing to trade the plutonium…but only if Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) is delivered to the Apostles.
Which is not in Ethan’s plans at all, but he pretends to go along and kidnaps Lane on his own terms, much to the chagrin of the White Widow. There’s an awkward kiss hinting at James Bond eroticism but falling very, very far from the mark.
The arrival of Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) adds more complications to Ethan’s already complicated, convoluted plan, but he charges onwards.
There is a fight in the sewers that ends with someone dead and the reveal of Walker’s duplicitous character, but not before Lane escapes, Walker is revealed as an apostle, and Benji gets to use his face-masking skills yet again.
The rest is a race against the clock to get the plutonium before the Apostles can use it. Strangely, despite this movie being over 2 hours long and despite it jumping from one exquisite location to another, it doesn’t feel that long. We are emotionally attached to Ethan and his friends and we want to know what he will do next. The pacing is perfect and it didn’t feel like such a long movie. The last few scenes are cinematically executed wonderfully. Ethan flies a helicopter around tight corners and narrowly veers across mountainsides, which Tom Cruise all does by himself after putting himself through hours of separate practice to really give the audience an authentic feeling of flying and falling with him.
Another layer to the drama comes in the shape of Julia (Michelle Monaghan), implicated in the bombs about to go off in her health camp in India and still holding half of Ethan’s heart.
All in all, this is another winner in the Mission Impossible series. We’ve grown to love the characters and feel their sorrow as they struggle to make humanly impossible decisions for the better of humanity. The grandeur of their mission is undercut by the feeling of camaraderie and love for man that oozes out of everything Ethan does. He has every right to hate the IMF. He has every right to turn his back on a government that barely recognizes him. He has every right to be a villain. But he isn’t. He is the hero. Always has, always will be. And that is something worth reveling in, time after time.
Message self-destructing in 5…
Release Date: July 27, 2018
Starring: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Michelle Monaghan, Vanessa Kirby, Alec Baldwin
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Genre: Action, Adventure
Audience: Young adults, adventure/spy enthusiasts, Mission Impossible fans
Runtime: 147 minutes
Official Website: www.MissionImpossible.com
Official Social Media Pages:
IMDB: @Mission Impossible: Fallout
Wiki Link: @Mission Impossible: Fallout
Shay Santos | Writing Contributor & Filmmaker
B.A. | Film & Comparative Literature | San Diego State Univ.
Strangely obsessed with rule-of-thirds, color theory, and lightbulbs, Shay should not be left alone with a camera for any extended period of time. She loves telling stories, be it on page or on screen and at the discretion of her two friends. Her one rule for filmmaking is that every shot should be aesthetic. Her second rule is that you don’t have to follow the rules. And the third unspoken rule (punishable by excommunication from the boba squad) is that it absolutely MUST tell a story nix sound, dialogue, and SFX. Catch Shay chilling in the manga section of Barnes & Noble or jamming out to anime OSTs. Instagram @zafra.photography | View My Blogs
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