Actor does yeomanlike work in Amazon political thriller
Fans of the “Jack Ryan” movie and TV series of political thrillers will want to check out a feature-length offering upcoming on Amazon.
“Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse,” which begins streaming Friday, April 30, is set before the events of the streaming series “Jack Ryan” and the films “Clear and Present Danger” and “The Sum of All Fears” and follows the origin story of John Clark (aka John Kelly) in his pre-CIA days.
Here, Clark (played by Michael B. Jordan, “Fahrenheit 451,” the “Creed” movies) is a Navy SEAL whose successful top-secret mission to rescue a CIA operative from ex-Russian military forces, most of whom he kills in the process, makes him the target of Russian assassins, who mistakenly kill his pregnant wife instead in an unprecedented attack on U.S. soil.
Now on a mission of revenge, Clark turns ruthless as he teams with friend and former SEAL team member Karen Greer (Jodie Turner-Smith, “Queen & Slim”) and shadowy CIA agent Robert Ritter (Jamie Bell, “Rocketman”) to track down the surviving assassin and also head off possible military conflict between the two nations.
As in other Clancy adaptations, this film is heavy on action with many scenes of fire fights and one elaborate plane crash sequence. And at the center of it is Jordan, whom director Stefano Sollima (“Gomorrah,” “ZeroZeroZero”) praises for a humanity that he says fits in well with the Clark/Kelly character.
“Aside from being a wonderful and professional actor,” the Italian filmmaker says, “he’s one of the kindest people that I’ve ever met. And in ‘Without Remorse,’ we push his character, John Kelly, into very dark places and we force him to act in a very extreme way. And so, the actor playing John Kelly had to have a deep and solid kindness because I feel it was really important to (follow) him through the rough times even though he’s a good guy in darkness. So I think it was pretty delicate because I asked Michael to perform every single action sequence in the movie without the support of a stunt double.”
Indeed, in what is probably the film’s most complex scene, Jordan’s character is forced to swim from the wreckage of a sinking plane in a sequence reminiscent of the Tom Hanks crash/escape scene in “Cast Away.” Here, this sequence was filmed in the fuselage of an actual plane submerged in a tank and twisting and pivoting on motors, and required a lot of swimming through debris and breath-holding on Jordan’s part.
It’s a scene that claustrophobes might find a tad uncomfortable.
“I wanted the audience to actually feel what it means to be in a plane crash …,” Sollima says. “so I decided to basically shoot the entire sequence basically from (Jordan’s) point of view, only briefly showing the outside of the plane. … I think it’s cool when you can experience (and) read how the action is affecting a character, is changing him or is pushing him to the limit.”