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Genre: Action, Spy
Country: United States
Starring: George Clooney, Nicole Kidman, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Marcel Iures, Alexander Baluev
Director: Mimi Leder
Run time: 123 minutes
DVD distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
The best thing I can say about The Peacemaker, which gets a Blu-Ray release on September 21st from Paramount Home Entertainment, is that it doesn’t feel at all like a two-hour movie. It’s so fast-paced that the time really flies by. But, like a marathon session at a Chinese buffet, the movie left me feeling decidedly empty when it was all over. Moments after the final credits, I found it hard to remember details. I suspect that within a few hours, I will have forgotten major plot points and much of the rest of the film.
The Peacemaker is slick. It’s fast-paced, it’s glossy and shiny, and it looks great on Blu-Ray. With the exception of a few scenes (like an early one on a train and a few later ones) that don’t look great. But it’s the kind of movie that has no soul. The stars (George Clooney and Nicole Kidman) have no distinctive traits that mark them as human. Every time they start to provide a window into their thoughts and feelings something blows up or a car chase erupts out of nowhere.
At the beginning of the film, a very small effort is made to humanize both. Kidman gets a bunch of flowers from (presumably) a lover who has wronged her in some way. It never comes up again. She shows a moment of indecision when she discovers she is in charge of the American operation dealing with the nuclear weapon that has just been set off. She is overwhelmed and terrified, but it’s a fleeting moment and that emotion never returns. Clooney is just presented as a charming, tough-guy plays-by-his-own-rules military commander. That’s it as far as his depth goes.
There are really two movies here – the nuclear detonation, the theft of nine nuclear weapons, and the mad scramble as the Americans attempt to hunt down the thieves. Then there’s the one weapon that makes it out, gets into the U.S., and the mad scramble as the Americans attempt to hunt down the bomber before he blows up a piece of America. The first part is more interesting – the second part is a little sad. Like, of course an audience will care only if the bomb goes off in America, right? Near some important landmarks, perhaps?
The villain in the first part is a cartoon – a rogue Russian general (Alexander Baluev) who has stolen the nukes for profit and is presumably going to sell them to Iran. He is bad. You know he’s bad because he shoots his OWN men when they question him! The villain in the second part (a terrific Marcel Iures) is a little more nuanced. An attempt is made to humanize him – he’s a reasonable man driven to unreasonable measures after the murders of his wife and daughter…but really this is just a glossy half-assed attempt to make him identifiable and give him motivation. But really – a reasonable guy who responds to the death of his family by murdering millions of others?
The movie is as pretty, as charming and as soullessly dead-eyed as Nicole Kidman herself. For the first time with this movie, I paid close attention to how Kidman looks in HD. That flawless porcelain doll look she has couldn’t possibly be real, right? There MUST be a few blemishes that show up in high definition! Well…nope. Kidman is as gorgeous, as perfect and as flawless as she looks the rest of the time.
I realized that this is the problem I have with Nicole Kidman. She is absolutely flawless. She is perfectly symmetrical and beautiful in every way and maybe the prettiest woman alive. I know what you’re saying – that’s a problem? Well, yes. Kidman looks more like a computer-generated image of “the perfect woman” than she does a real person. She’s an artist’s rendering of a gorgeous movie star, a blemish-free goddess who has no need for airbrushing or touchups but has a desperate need for something that gives her character.
Kidman really is a terrific actress, but her appearance alone sucks some of the soul out of every role she plays. I may be alone in thinking this. I have a similar opinion of many things – I think Rush are an extremely talented band who play with remarkable technical precision. But I can’t hear the soul in the music, and I lose interest fast. Same goes for Glenn Gould, Yngwie Malmsteen and The Peacemaker. Which gets one extra star for looking great on Blu-Ray (for the most part).