On July 12th, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1 will be released in theaters (here is our review of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1), and with the occasion, we thought we’d put together our very own ranking of the best movies starringTom Cruise.
Last old-fashioned superstar, perhaps along with Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt (after Once upon a time in Hollywood, the dream would be to see him in the tenth and final film of Quentin Tarantino), from the 1980s onward Tom Cruise has been a staple in the landscape of American cinema, sculpting a career capable as much of intercepting and facilitating the work of the best auteurs of the day as of follow industry developments and, in some cases, even anticipate them.
His name is certainly linked to that of the saga of Mission: Impossible, but the fertility of his filmography (and of his talent, which is often forgotten between articles about his crazy stunt-man exploits) led him to take part in a series of equally unforgettable films, sometimes even more important still in the discourse of image evolution and imaginary.
Before we proceed with our ranking, here are what they are Tom Cruise’s other best films namely those that would have been mentioned if this were a top 15: Minority Report, Jerry Maguire, The Partner, Top Gun, The Last Samurai, War of the Worlds, Edge of Tomorrow, Risky Business, Days of Thunder, Legend.
5) The Color of Money by Martin Scorsese
Sequel of Robert Rossen’s The Hustler, set 25 years after the original story and starred once again by Paul Newman in the role of Eddy Felson, The Color of Money is paradoxically among the most obtusely and foolishly underrated and misunderstood films in Scorsese cinema, and obviously among his best. The opening sequence, among the best things ever shot not only by Scorsese but by anyone, would be enough to silence any detractors.
If we were to rewatch The Color of Money today, we would find in the relationship/rivalry between Paul Newman and Tom Cruise an ideal passing of the baton between the Hollywood that was and the Hollywood we are now living.
4) Top Gun Maverick by Joseph Kosinski
Sequel of the late lamented masterpiece Tony Scott (to whom this film is dedicated: the press screening I attended closed on the roar of applause that erupted at the appearance of the director’s name on the big screen, the last applause of a long series that continued intermittently throughout the screening); co-written by Tom Cruise’s new right-hand man, Christopher McQuarrie (also counting the unreleased Mission: Impossible 8, the pair is in their tenth work between producing, screenwriting and directing) and directed by sodal Joseph Kosinski (who had already been his director for the excellent sci-fi Oblivion), Top Gun: Maverick is the perfect blockbuster for today.
In addition to being full of feeling, laughter, chills and tears, it is also a film that reasons about time, that which is available and that which has passed-especially since the release of the first Top Gun: a time that has passed as much for the characters, who have memories and backstories related to the events of that film, as for the viewers, who share some of those memories with them and who return to discover new ones-and who incorporates its predecessor by colonizing its images to repurpose them for contemporary aesthetics.
3) Eyes Wide Shut by Stanley Kubrick
Love, but also something more … a shadow, an itch, something irremediable. A feeling to which it is impossible to give form that Kubrick manages who knows how to make crystal clear, suspended thus between the characters and behind their destinies, a detail hidden by a mask’s concealed gaze.
More than a film-testament, Eyes Wide Shut is a film-feeling that closes a century, a life, a cinema (it was released in 1999, after the author’s death) but also foreshadows an era (ours) of absolute uncertainty, of not-seeing, of eyes “wide“closed.
2) Magnolia by Paul Thomas Anderson
Epochal and total work among the most impressive independent productions in the history of cinema: the everyday made epic, man’s fate punctuated in biblical tones, the absurd of realism, the extraordinary of the ordinary, empathy immortalized in close-ups. It is impossible to keep up with the hellish pace of the onslaught, and the tide of story-telling that is set in from there on takes you away.
Magnolia is perhaps the greatest film ever made about the affairs of men and the unknowable laws that dominate them, certainly the best acting performance of Tom Cruise’s career, from which acting schools still draw today to explain how to a look into the camera may be able to judge not only the character it is aimed at, but more importantly the viewer on this side of the screen.
1) Collateral by Michael Mann
A film of geographies, of physical spaces set in concrete and sketched by the night lights refracted on the surfaces of errant cars, in which, in a world in which analog is waning (whose gap on reality is amplified by that digital photography-expressionist which would also mark Miami Vice and characterize all of the director’s later productions), the human body takes on the metaphysical traits of ghosts, identities overlap, man blends in at the end of the day and is lost in the landscape, blending in with nature (coyotes) and urbanization (“a man gets on a train…”).
One of the greatest masterpieces by an author capable of making only masterpieces.