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The Sum of All Fears (2002)
It could have been so much better
As a fan of the Clancy novels I was looking forward to seeing this movie. I am pleased to say that I only wasted my money on a rented dvd.
The book is great. And there's the rub, if you enjoyed the book the film will be an immense let down. In fact you'd be forgiven for thinking that perhaps there's another Tom Clancy and another completely different Sum of All Fears.
Harrison Ford was a quite believable Jack Ryan. Ben Affleck could be Jack's son! Where has Jack's wife (and children) got to? In this movie he's only just started dating Cathy. Why has Baltimore replaced Denver? Why is Fowler at the game, rather than Camp David?
Of course if you have not read the book, the movie will probably be broadly acceptable.
Another Country (1984)
Truly brilliant, although quintessentially English
I was living in France when this film was first released. I had seen the stage play and thoroughly enjoyed it. The film was so good I actually saw it twice over it's opening weekend.
The bulk of the action is set in an English boarding school in the 1930s. This is marvelously portrayed - school bullies, inter house rivalries, the cadet force, cricket - and there is some marvelous interaction between Rupert Everett and Colin Firth. The latter's impassioned defence of Stalin is understated comedy at its finest.
This is a film of great subtlety and beauty, well acted, and underpinned by a haunting soundtrack.