Tom Cruise isn’t the most obvious choice to play the hero of American-based British thriller writer Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels.
Reacher is 6ft 5in and built like an oak tree; it’s the thing that makes this ex-military-cop-turned-drifter stand out in a room and intimidate the bad guys. Cruise, on the other hand, is around 5ft7in. He’s in shape, but he’s hardly the rough-and-ready, tough guy type.
On paper, having Cruise play Reacher might seem like another instance of Hollywood vanity miscasting. But we’re not dealing with paper here, we’re dealing with movies, and though Cruise may be short-in-stature in real life, he’s still the biggest film star on the planet and in this instance that’s what counts.
There’s no winking admission that Cruise is too small. Instead, when the character walks in, he turns heads because, well, he looks and carries himself like Tom Cruise. In other words, Cruise imbues him with his full-on laser-like focus. Reacher, meanwhile, turns out to be a big enough character to absorb Cruise’s. The result is the star’s best role since Collateral.