I was relieved to find out that I wasn't the only one who thinks Tom Cruise looks bizarre when he beats a hasty path. After seeing the new film Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, I came across someone who asked on Facebook if anyone else thought if Cruise ran funny, a stylized herky jerky scramble, very kinetic with the arms making piston like moves up and down. He makes me think of toy that had been wound up too tightly and was thrashing about until unwound, or the the spring snapped. The only thing missing was the key in his back. Cruise is a problematic actor , of course, rigorously stylized, overly assertive with those gestures and quirks of the head: the laugh is too quick and barking, the smile is too fast to appear and too tight besides, the eyes are bright and attentive, but you cannot shake the feeling that he thinks you're a mirror he's staring into.
Not that he doesn't try to do good work; his fans would cite Eyes Wide Shut with director Stanley Kubrick. To tell the trurth, I didn't much care for Eyes Wide Shut, which I thought was a stiff , creaking attempt at necro-erotica. Cruise isn't the actor I would have cast for a role like this, but I think the main fault lies in what I suspect was the movies incomplete status. Despite what the studio and Stanley Kubrick's might claim, I doubt this film was finished. The editing is especially ragged and arbitrary, not something you'd expect from a Kubrick project. It was a supremely pretentious swan song from an already pretentious director.
Cruise's career work is slick, commercial and slick promotion, and it is one of the truly embarrassing things an audience member will ever have to do than to watch this two-dimensional action toy try to convey complex emotions or states ofmind. But he is, like a good many other screen personalities, effective as a presence if he is in the right project. The secret, I think, is to keep the story going moving along at a brisk pace that doesn't sacrifice coherence or allow Cruise the opportunity to get Hollywood on us. Spielberg, for all the griping one may do about him, knows how to keep a movie brisk and made Cruise the perfect protagonist in Minority Report. Interestingly enough, I think the pair also did good work in War of the Worlds.