AirSabe’s review published on Letterboxd:
Went in expecting a straight-forward action movie but was pleasantly surprised to find that Jack Reacher plays like a conspiracy thriller. Tom Cruise plays the detective who conducts a noir-esque investigation to solve a mystery that has a lot of moving parts. This feels like an old-school thriller; a slow burn that lets scenes play out a little longer to establish us in the environments. I appreciate that it is a quiet movie without a lot of extra noise with the score often fading out during the tense moments. There is a little less action and a little more suspense based on being in the same room as someone who might be an enemy. It doesn't commit fully to the schtick and there is a blockbuster shell holding things together but I still love what it is going for.
Christopher McQuarrie certainly knows how to handle action. It's much different from the elaborate set-pieces of the Mission: Impossible franchise, but the action here is brutal, a bit more understated and shot with minimal cuts and shaking (which is more you can say for many action movies). McQuarrie's direction is graceful; just take a look at that wordless and haunting opening sequence that draws you into this mystery. All the answers are there and McQuarrie returns to it multiple times as the information is revealed, often switching out key details to give things a mysterious edge. Then you have to talk about Tom Cruise himself. I felt he was trying too hard to be cool in the start, but he quickly settles in and delivers the intensity and physicality that we have come to expect. Throw in some funny one-liners and a sprinkle of his self-deprecating humor to break the tension and you get an enjoyable performance in an enjoyable film.