The Peacemaker is going to be scrutinized because of it being the first release out of the much-touted DreamWorks SKG production company. Can director Mimi Leder (“ER”) and acting dual George Clooney and Nicole Kidman make this be a great debut film for DreamWorks SKG?
It’s interesting to note that four big players from the hit TV show “ER” are part of The Peacemaker production: Award winning director Mimi Leder, executive producer John Wells, actor George Clooney, and executive producer Steven Spielberg. With these big names attached to the film, it has to be good, right?
A group of terrorists steal ten nuclear warheads and create an incident with one of the warheads. Dr. Julia Kelly (Nicole Kidman) is the head of the group that is looking into this incident. She requests the assistance of someone with a specialty in this field, and that someone is Tom Devoe (George Clooney). He’s a specialist in dealing with terrorism of this type and at also dealing with illegal arms dealers. Together, Kelly and Devoe go hunting for the rest of the nuclear warheads. Added to this is the political plot of a “Serbian, Bosnian, and Muslim” man, who in the script is attempted to be humanized with a sub-plot about his family being killed off by terrorist.
What is strange is that the opening incident is dropped quickly after its purpose is found out. I would have really liked to see what could or would have been done to correct that incident, but it is dropped quickly to let the action start. Which, in the case of The Peacemaker looks like a good thing to have done, but it would have been interesting to see what could have happened.
The best way to describe The Peacemaker is a two-hour chase scene. Peacemaker has locations in Italy, Bosnia, Russia and the US. The world travel is handled well. Each site has one action scene attached to it. I especially love the car chase in Venice that plays like grown men in bumper cars. Most of the action, though well done, is hardly imaginative and very uninspired. The car chase is about as creative as the action scenes get. The opening action sequence seems to take too long for what it is meant to show. There is also the unnecessary gore that is used throughout the film.
Mimi Leder shows that she knows how to use the camera effectively. Sometimes too effective and making some of the camera work unneeded and distracting. Some of her shots that use the camera in motion are just for the hell of it, and it is more distracting that anything. About halfway through the film, you get the sense, even if you didn’t know that Leder was a director on ER, from her camera work that she is an ER director. The constant fluid motion of the camera is a constant reminder of the camera work in ER. Whereas in ER the camera fluidly follows a gurney or fluidly does a 360 around a gurney, here in The Peacemaker the camera fluidly follows another object or fluidly does a 360 around a character.
The performances in The Peacemaker are nothing special. Kidman does OK as Kelly. In one scene where she cries over the loss of nine soldiers, she sheds a tear, gets up, and makes a call about a different matter. So quick, so fast, and so brief was her cry that we don’t really get the sense that she really cared about those soldiers. Clooney does his usual character role. Lost are his nervous ticks from ER which makes him look more confident, but, he’s not doing anything new here. His character is likeable, but we don’t really get to know his character enough to care for him.
Hans Zimmer does the score for this film, and this is the best thing about the film. The score is pulse pounding and follows the action well.
The Peacemaker is an average action film that has its thrilling moments. Though the film is a bit on the long side, it does keep a good pace. I recommend seeing The Peacemaker, but only during a matinee showing. I hope that Dreamworks SKG has better films lined up to release after this mildly entertaining and easily forgettable debut.