Clear and Present Danger Reviews
Clear and Present Danger feels like it remains very true to the source material. Although I have never read Clear and Present Danger, I know based on reading The Hunt for Red October that Tom Clancy's writing style follows a path that tends to go back and forth between the complex politics behind America's war with the Colombian drug cartel and the involvement of the people in it. But unlike The Hunt for Red October, the balance between them is not enough to ensure that the film feels exhilerating. It is a lot more politically focused, and even though it is a very intelligently written film, it is a very complicated one with a lot of characters which moves at a relatively slow pace most of the time. I guess this is beneficial in terms of realism because of the fact that the amount of politics surrounding an American battle is much more complicated than the battle itself, and for what it's worth there is entertainment value in both the political context and action, but there is a long running time and slow pace to put up with if the viewer is truly ready to embrace the experience.
The scale of the film is big and so it has a lot of material to tackle, yet in the process it sacrifices a sense of character. Unlike Tom Clancy's novel, the film is limited to its tangible qualities and has to sacrifice character depth in order to really grasp the bigger picture. Since the bigger picture is a complicated game of corruption and warfare, there is a lot for viewers to take in due to all of the characters and plot twists in the screenplay. Director Phillip Noyce is able to handle it all very well as director, but the relevance of all the characters and such may be a lot for the viewers to fully grasp. The story is a realy complicated one. The themes in the film are interesting because the story capitalises on the concept of America's war on drugs especially in the context of an international conflict and the corrupt actions of both sides in the situation. The turmoil is complex, and the way that the film presents a story about Jack Ryan being dragged into it and using his unbiased approach to the truth evokes an interesting tale. The slow pace and large amount of story to take it may overwhelm some while the slow pace may underwhelm others. Me personally, I felt a bit of both but was able to enjoy the film as a whole for both its political content and action quality. The screenplay is strong, and the dialogue is intelligent even if the characters are not that great. And with the action in the film, things are choreogreaphed very well without going over the top into unrealistic territory to ensure that it maintains the realistic spirit of its context and still remains entertaining with energy, as well as having well edited sound effects.
The visual style of Clear and Present Danger is great. Everything is always shot with a close up style which effortly clarifies the claustrophobic nature of the intensity as the plot dynamics zero in on all the characters. And at other times, it pulls back far enough to emphasize the large scale of events and the strong scenery of the experience. The scenery of the film is really grand because it makes the story feel seriously legitimate to make the experience a very professionally crafted one. Phillip Noyce ensures that Clear and Present Danger is a stylish and atmospheric film which is a rousing technical success.
The musical score in Clear and Present Danger is also great. It gives the film a strong sense of scale as well as elements of patriotism without failing to convey the emotional nature of many scenes. It really adds to the atmosphere and makes the film a strong experience on the ears to add to how it already succeeds for the eyes.
And when it comes to the cast, Harrison Ford shines in the leading role.
Harrison Ford returns to the role of Jack Ryan with excellence once again. Clear and Present Danger is largely split into two segments in terms of Jack Ryan's narrative, with one part of the film focusing on him working behind a desk trying to analyse all the data and uncover the truth while the second half becomes focused on him cracking down on the conspiracy and getting in on the action. The first half of Clear and Present Danger capitalises on Harrison Ford's ability for firm and powerful line delivery while the second half uses both that and his abilities as an action hero. He is incredibly direct with the material once again, playing the role out with a humane level of dedication which gives the sense of being both a hero and an everyman which is exactly what protagonist Jack Ryan is supposed to be. His moment at the end of the film where he confronts the President of the United States his finest moment in the film because he sums up all of the intense development that has occured over the course of the story to let it all out in a moment of a professional soliloquy. Harrison Ford returns to the role of Jack Ryan and delivers a powerful performance once again, making him the highlight of Clear and Present Danger.
Willem Dafoe delivers in intense supporting effort as well. His screen time is minimal, but he is easily able to manipulate his character as the story direction constantly changes and he gets dragged through all kinds of plot dynamics. He maintains a strong level of professionalism the entire time and approaches the tense material with a serious manner of acting. He brings the realism of it to life with his simple yet intense performance, and his confidence brings a lot of energy to the feature all throughout.
James Earl Jones also makes a welcome supporting presence, returning to the role of Vice Admiral James that he played in The Hunt for Red October.
So although Clear and Present Danger has a lot to take in and a prolonged running time with a slow pace for viewers to do it, it is tightly scripted with stylish direction and led in a powerhouse performance by Harrison Ford in the role of Tom Clancy's iconic hero.