Some of America’s greatest heroes created them in literature writers like Lee Child, Clive Cussler but above all Tom Clancy. Always passionate about the military world, between ranks, conflicts and strategies, the latter is considered together with Michael Crichton e Craig Thomas the father of the so-called techno-thriller, a genre born from the mixture of espionage, science fiction and thriller. Besides Sam Fisher di Splinter Cell, his two most famous characters sono Jack Ryan, which was also the first one devised by Clancy to arrive at the cinema in Caccia in red October (played by Alec Baldwin at the time) and now on Amazon Prime Video in the series of the same name with John Krasinski, and John Clark from the Rainbow Six saga, back now streaming in this new and interesting Without Remorse by Stefano Sollima, played by Michael B. Jordan.
Just like Ryan, who over time has also been played by Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck e Chris Pine, Clark has also had several cinematic iterations like that of William Dafoe in Under the Sign of Danger o di Liev Schreiber in At the top of tension. The fact is that he has never been the protagonist of a film entirely dedicated to him and of origins like Without Remorse, nothing more than the adaptation of the first novel written by Clancy and dedicated to the birth of this legend of techno-thriller literature. The story therefore follows John Kelly (Clark’s initial name) on a vengeance mission within a much larger and more sophisticated conspiracy than expected, from Syria to America and up to Russia, all to prevent the start of a new international conflict.
The birth of the Rainbow
It must be admitted: by a team composed of the director of Gomorrah – The e series of Soldado, give writer of Sicario, Hell of High Water and director of Wind River as well as by the interpreter of Creed e Black Panther, we expected something more. Many more emotions, a smoother cut on tension and scenic virtuosity, some less aggressive narrative choices in terms of haste and the more you think about quality and quantity.
Without Remorse, on the other hand, is a title that while doing his job well, it is extremely simple, classic and at times stereotyped. This last defect is unfortunately the son of the dating of the original novel, which although modernized to better adapt to the current geo-political situation, as well as socio-civil, however, it has inherent limits to time and to the plot itself, far too old-fashioned in terms of conception and development, on the surface (starting from the concept) even older than Caccia in Rosso October 1993. Evidently the novel has not aged well and this transpires from the conceptual fidelity desired by Taylor Sheridan for the story.
The classic and the simple are instead attributable to Sollima, who compared to Soldado but even to Romanzo Criminale or Gomorra something visibly satisfying in relation to military strategy e “lonely man against all“, taking care of the details of shooting points and camera movements together with Philippe Rousselot to recreate the targeted training actions on screen NAVY Seals, without, however, returning a certain spectacularity in the sense of exaggeration and virtuosity.
This doesn’t make Without Remorse a flat film, rather a title perhaps incapable of expressing its potential to the fullest, and this despite three main scenes (an initial, a central and a concluding one) which alone give the measure of the skill of both Sollima and Michael B. Jordan in the role of Clark, currently the best ever to appear in a feature film. He is the one who holds the entire film on his shoulders without the help of supporting actors like Guy Pearce or Jamie Bell.
Just like the Jack Ryan series, this film dedicated to Clark also suffers from the exact same problems of form and content that fail to elevate it to the top within the genre, to keep company with titles like Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Casino Royale o The Bourne Ultimatum. There is no imbalance, however, which makes the vision pleasant and well balanced, without particular rhetorical or directorial enthusiasm.
The feeling is that more could have been done, but it is also true that since it is an origin story of a much loved character there was a need to respect something canonical for the birth of the hero at the top of the section command Rainbow Six, an adequate springboard for a future franchise. In fact, net of the perplexities listed above, the choice is prudent: leave innovation and courage to the continuation of the saga and lay a solid foundation for this to happen. Considering also the rhythm and validity of the formal care of the project, Senza Rimorso can be defined as a more than discreet and compelling beginning for something greater than we hope Amazon Studios is willing to continue. Furthermore, not being a cinecomic, we feel the need to anticipate it: don’t stop at the end credits.