Andrea’s film review – Reacher (TV series)

Reacher ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2  Review by Andrea Carnevali

Jack Reacher was arrested for murder and now the police need his help. Based on the books by Lee Child. Available to watch on Amazon Prime.

I was on holiday for about week, away from large screens and cinemas, something which I’m not quite used to, as many who know me well might guess. So to avoid any withdrawal symptoms from the lack of daily films I decided to delve into some of the latest TV series available on the many streaming services… (and there are quite a few of them to choose from!)

Despite the uninspiring screengrab on the Amazon Prime homepage, Reacher came with a whole baggage of high ratings both from critics and audiences alike. As it turned out, it was indeed the perfect mindless fodder to consume while travelling abroad.

I was already familiar with the character of Jack Reacher, having read several of the 26 crime novels by British author Lee Child. There were those two American movies starring Tom Cruise which most of us would rather forget: the first from 2012 was actually alright, alas the second was quite boring, unoriginal and almost killed its legacy.

Like many fans of the original books I remember being baffled by the main casting choice: Reacher is described in the book as “a 250-pound blond man standing at 6ft 5in tall, with hands the size of dinner plates or Thanksgiving turkeys”. Not quite the image Tom Cruise exudes… but there you go.

This time, the casting of Alan Richardson in the leading role, not only gets the physicality completely spot on, bringing with it the menacing side of the character from the written page, but also it captures the human and the intellectual nature of Reacher: he is indeed a sort of Sherlock Holmes with muscles… a lot of muscles!

Richardson embodies the role perfectly and commands the screen the moment he enters frame: surprisingly I found myself liking him a lot more than I thought I would. His chemistry with his co-stars, particularly with policewoman Roscoe (played by Willa Fitzgerald from the TV series Scream) is also electric and their reactions to this Hulk-like character somehow humanise him even more.

As for the story, this first season is adapted from the first book The Killing Floor and while there are some liberties here and there (especially some of the flashbacks), overall the series captures the spirit of the novel very well; it gets the mood of the little town in Georgia perfectly. Quite an achievement since it was filmed near Toronto, in Canada.

You might get a bit lost in the beginning with all the names of the various characters (at least I did), and of course there’s no denying that the whole thing is rather ludicrous with few too many lucky coincidences here and there, but over all this eight-episode series is perfectly paced, full of  brilliantly choreographed action set pieces and a captivating mystery at its core. Yes, despite it 12A rating, it is actually a bit violent in a few places (Reacher likes to use his hands a lot) but nothing we haven’t seen before.

In the end the series transcended that un-inspiring image from the poster, it makes you forget the miss-steps of the previous films and it turned out to be exactly the kind of bingeable show I needed to see, to unwind in beautiful landscape of the showy Italian Alps (I know, you’re probably hating me now… but in my defence it was my first holiday in while).

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

Reacher is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

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See also: Theatre review – Running with Lions at the Lyric, Hammersmith

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