The Films of Phil Alden Robinson
In the Mood
Field of Dreams
The Sum of All Fears (August 13/16)
Based on a book by Tom Clancy, The Sum of All Fears follows Ben Affleck's green CIA agent Jack Ryan as he uncovers (and must eventually thwart) a nefarious plot by Alan Bates' Dressler to pit America and Russia against one another. It's ultimately clear that The Sum of All Fears fares best in its entertaining and sometimes engrossing first half, as filmmaker Phil Alden Robinson does an effective job of balancing the narrative's extensive political intrigue with smaller, character-based moments - with the watchable feel heightened by an incredibly strong roster of performers (which includes James Cromwell, Colm Feore, Ciarán Hinds, and Morgan Freeman). Affleck's affable turn as Clancy's iconic protagonist certainly perpetuates the compelling atmosphere, and there's little doubt that the movie benefits from the intriguing mentor/mentee relationship between Freeman and Affleck's respective characters. There does reach a point, however, wherein The Sum of All Fears becomes bogged down with the minutia of Ryan's work and investigation, with the film's predominant (and curious) lack of action compounding its progressively uninvolving vibe. It's apparent, too, that Paul Attanasio and Daniel Pyne's screenplay begins featuring sequences and subplots of a somewhat needless nature (eg Ryan and Liev Schreiber's John Clark travel to Russia to find three missing scientists), which ensures that the film's third act doesn't quite have the slam-bang, visceral impact that Alden has clearly intended. The Sum of All Fears is ultimately a decent Ryan adventure that could (and should) have been so much better, with the movie nevertheless standing as a perfectly acceptable political thriller that is, at the very least, watchable throughout.
The Angriest Man in Brooklyn