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By Brent Davidson
15th January 2014

Desk jobs are a clicheé for boring. Those with desk jobs that require looking at numbers, as has been sagaciously pointed out by Monty Python, are the most boring kind of work. But what if your humble accountant was more - much more - than they seemed?

Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) is your average (but not so average) economics PhD student, whom upon witnessing the tragic events of the 11th of September 2001, is spurred to join the Marines, where, whilst serving in Afghanistan, is badly injured. It's during his rehabilitation he meets his future fiancée Cathy (Keira Knightly) and is recruited by William Harper (Kevin Costner) to enter the world of the CIA by monitoring the flow of the economy as an analyst in a high-placed financial company – something his PhD has prepared him for. Noticing a potential terrorist plot, he is then sent to Moscow to investigate, where he meets Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh, who also happens to be the film's director) and is conveniently swapped from a passive intelligence agent into an active one – thank god he had all that marine training!


Don’t worry if the plot sounds a little convoluted – all the best spy movies are. In the end, this boils down to a classic good guy vs. bad guy situation, and boy does Kenneth Branagh play a good bad guy.

‘Jack Ryan’ is exactly what you expect it to be - and that's probably its defining feature (Branagh aside). Pine and Knightly are in comfortable territory as hero/damsel, and Kevin Costner is coming into his own as the veteran mentor character. With just enough action, car chases, fights and fun dialogue, this film is a staple of the genre. It is interesting that characters such as Jack Ryan and Jason Bourne are having their universes expanded beyond their direct film adaptions, which in itself is a testament to the strength of the characters.

It can be said, without a doubt, that this is Kenneth Branagh’s show. Cementing himself as a director of the Hollywood blockbuster with ‘Thor’ and now ‘Jack Ryan’ under his belt, it's clear he can handle such films with a sureness and a clarity of vision - not to mention managing to act (and well) in it without losing focus on the integrity of the movie. This integrity delivers a clear, clever and engaging spy film that will no doubt will leave audiences satisfied – if unable to find their desk job quite as exciting ever again.

RELEASE DATE: 16/01/2014
RUN TIME: 01h 45m
CAST: Chris Pine
Keira Knightley
Kevin Costner
Kenneth Branagh
DIRECTOR: Kenneth Branagh
WRITERS: Adam Cozad
David Koepp
PRODUCERS: David Barron
Lorenzo Di Bonaventura
SCORE: Patrick Doyle
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