Finnegan On Films: Go Into Cruise Control On Netflix

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James Finnegan picks three movies available on Netflix featuring the talented Mr Cruise…

In these strange times, I thought it was time to bring in one of modern cinema’s ‘top guns’ (sorry!) – Tom Cruise.

The star of films such as Born on the Fourth of July, Rain Man, The Colour of Money, A Few Good Men, Magnolia, Vanilla Sky and the Mission Impossible franchise is one of the big box office names, and a prolific producers and actor, as can be seen from this selection of his lesser known films.

Far and Away (1992) has a number of virtues that are sometimes overlooked.  First of all, it was partly filmed locally, around Dingle, and it did not involve a galaxy far, far away.

Continued below…


It is a romantic western of sorts with our hero Joseph Donnelly, played by Tom Cruise, seeking his fortune in 1890’s America.

Of course, his adventure does not always run smoothly, but with the help of the romantic interest, played by the then Mrs Cruise, Nicole Kidman, no obstacle can stand in his way.

Tom Cruise in ‘Far And Away’.

The story can occasionally seem like a big-budget soap opera, but just go along with the ride, which always looks spectacular, especially when we reach the wide cinematic views of Wyoming, standing in for Oklahoma – part of the magic of showbiz.

Directed by Ron Howard, another bonus is seeing so many treasured Irish acting legends such as Cyril Cusack, Colm Meaney and Niall Tobin involved, as are The Chieftains and Enya in addition to a John Williams composed soundtrack.

From a romantic western, we move onto a Japanese western with The Last Samurai (2003). Tom plays US Cavalry Officer Nathan Algren, who is ridden with guilt over his actions during the American-Indian Wars.

An opportunity comes to go to Japan to train a new Army for the Emperor. Accompanied by his friend, Sergeant Zebulon Grant, played by Billy Connolly, it is a possibility of a fresh start.

Tom Cruise in ‘The Last Samurai’.

However, the battle does not go well for Algren who is taken prisoner. During his imprisonment, Algren learns more about the life of the Samurai, and slowly gains the respect of his captors, notably Katsumoto, played by Ken Watanabe.

This was directed by Edward Zwick, as was this 2016 sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.  I must admit to not having read the original series of books (yet!) but I love the premise of a lone guy who lives off the grid, travelling around the country by bus, only using cash.

Tom Cruise in ‘Jack Reacher: Never Go Back’.

Reacher is a former army officer, who has those special service skills that make him a one man army.  He has been remotely helping Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders), to break up a human trafficking ring.   He finds out that she has been arrested for espionage.

He believes she has been framed, so he sets out to investigate.  This is a great Saturday night watch, which, as you can imagine, gives Tom plenty of opportunities to indulge his love of action scenes. Enjoy and stay safe.

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