In The Sum of All Fears, Evil is fond of anecdotes and opera music, speaks with ghoulish inflections and consumes only luxury food products. America smells an Axis of Evil when Russia gets a new president in the form of the evil-looking Nemerov (Ciarán Hinds). While he and his bookish wife engage Mike and Carol Brady at bedtime, he still displays an uncanny ability to recognize people with his back turned to them (all that’s missing is the fluffy Persian cat and the missing limb). Though Nemerov perpetuates DCI William Cabot’s (Morgan Freeman) fears by inexplicably bouncing back and forth between Russian and English, a very young Jack Ryan (Ben Affleck) has faith in Mother Russia if only because he wrote a term paper on Nemerov before joining the C.I.A.. If the film couldn’t get any more rancid, things turn laxative when a nuclear bomb explodes at a football game in Baltimore. What with the massive body count, who-pulled-the-trigger finger-pointing and references to Baltimore’s “ground zero,” it’s 9/11 all over again. Essentially, the filmmakers hope to scare an already paranoid America into seeing past the narrative dung heap: the cutesy repartee between teacher and student; the irritatingly pointless romance between Jack and his doctor girlfriend; and the silly notion that instant messenger has made warfare so impersonal that the film’s politicians are unwilling to trust the boy next door with the really sharp book report. The Sum of All Fears is about as necessary now as an enema from Osama though Tom Clancy gets a big shiny star for exposing the chilling notion that the lives of thousands of people might be less important than the ass of an incompetent president.
- Phil Alden Robinson
- Paul Attanasio, Daniel Pyne
- Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman, James Cromwell, Live Schreiber, Alan Bates, Philip Baker Hall, Bruce McGill, Ciarán Hinds, Jamie Harrold
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