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The Sum Of All Fears

IT'S BEEN a while since a gripping spy film has made its appearance. , ``The Sum Of All Fears" of Paramount Pictures comes in the tradition of espionage themes that has grim, tough looking men in formal suits striding through corridors of power, giving clipped orders across continents, naval and air bases and saving the world from the brink of destruction a la Bondor the Ludlum style of dealing with spy games providing many moments of excitement and visual treats.

Tom Clancy is no different with his sometimes stirring novels on espionage ranging from the Cold War to the Arab terrorists.

In this story, firmly set in the 2000s, as against the others which are in the Nineties, there are chilling resemblances to the September 11 blight though it went into production before the event.

Deviating a little from the book in the film the identity of the terrorists has been changed from Arab terrorists to Neo Nazi perpetrators. The neo nazis operate on the rather dubious premise that if they can make the U.S. and Russia destroy each other then fascism will undoubtedly flourish as a consequence, all symbolised by their close door cabal sessions which is so typical of the regular spy movies.

``The Sum Of All Fears," the latest filmed adaptation of Tom Clancy's military thriller is all about a misplaced and forgotten nuclear bomb. In wrong hands it almost brings the two nations to the brink of an all out nuclear war.

A fringe group manages to get hold of it and plans to detonate it at a major gathering point in America, in this case, Baltimore at the Super bowl. The idea is to create mass hysteria, implicate Russia and precipitate a nuclear holocaust and wipe out most of major nations off the map. How these Neo Nazis will live in the aftermath of a highly poisoned world and under the cloud of a nuclear haze is beside the point. Jack Ryan (Ben Affleck) is the analyst for CIA, brilliant and intitutive. Ben steps into the character already played by Alec Baldwin (The Hunt For Red October) and Harrison Ford (Patriot Games, Clear And Present Danger). This is a much younger Ryan, more vulnerable looking, perhaps not the toughie he is supposed to be. Under the leadership of CIA director William Cabot (Morgan Freeman) he uncovers this plot to use a recovered Israeli nuclear bomb lost to the world for nearly 30 years to create tension between the superpowers. This they will do at a game to be attended by the President of the U.S. (James Cromwell) and escalate the already heightened tension between the two countries. With Russia's new President (Ciaran Hinds) already ruffling feathers with his hardliner stance on Chechnya! There is no dull moment except towards the end when the makers are trying to come to a good conclusion - palatable and yet rosy!

The script (Paul Attanasio- Daniel Payne) builds up the tension slowly and before you know it you are caught up in this drama. There are the usual loose ends. For instance the ending is very pat almost forgetting that so many have perished in the after math of the bombBen as Ryan is adequate as most times he is required to look busy more action than emotions. Bridget Moynahan as Cathy Muller, doctor girlfriend of Ryan, is extremely charming. Morgan Freeman is his usual suave self, completely in sync with his character. Directed by Phil Alden Robinson, the camera work by John Lindsey captures the action sequences most effectively. Adding luster to the proceedings is the music by Jerry Goldsmith.

CHITRA MAHESH

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