Twenty four years ago. My word! Nearly a quarter of a century ago. That is when Tom Cruise first appeared as Ethan Hunt in a Mission: Impossible movie. Where has the time gone? I remember going to see it in the theater. I had the Cranberries song that plays over the pub scene with Luther in my CD collection. The millennium hadn’t even turned back then.
The first movie was helmed by a true cinematic heavyweight at the time, Brian De Palma. Carrie, Scarface, Dressed to Kill and The Untouchables pushed him to the very top of the Hollywood pile. After Mission: Impossible it was Snake Eyes and Mission To Mars. Does that mean MI was his high point?
De Palma says it may well have been. In an interview with the Associated Press he says:
“In my mid-50s doing ‘Carlito’s Way’ and then ‘Mission: Impossible’. It doesn’t get much better than that. You have all the power and tools at your disposal. When you have the Hollywood system working for you, you can do some remarkable things. But as your movies become less successful, it gets harder to hold on to the power and you have to start making compromises. I don’t know if you even realize you’re making them… I tend to be very hard-nosed about this. If you have a couple of good decades, that’s good, that’s great.”
De Palma also pointed to his disdain for sequels and never ending serials as a potential point of incompatibility with current Hollywood:
“Stories, they keep making them longer and longer only for economic reasons. After I made ‘Mission: Impossible,’ Tom [Cruise] asked me to start working on the next one. I said: ‘Are you kidding?’ One of these is enough. Why would anybody want to make another one? Of course, the reason they make another one is to make money. I was never a movie director to make money, which is the big problem of Hollywood. That’s the corruption of Hollywood.”
Not holding anything back he also opens up his fire on the very appearance of modern movies:
“The things that they’re doing now have nothing to do with what we were doing making movies in the ’70s, ‘80s and ’90s. The first thing that drives me crazy is the way they look. Because they’re shooting digitally they’re just lit terribly. I can’t stand the darkness, the bounced light. They all look the same. I believe in beauty in cinema. Susan and I were looking at ‘Gone With the Wind’ the other day and you’re just struck at how beautiful the whole movie is. The sets, how Vivien Leigh is lit, it’s just extraordinary. If you look at the stuff that’s streaming all the time, it’s all muck. Visual storytelling has gone out the window.”
Doesn’t sound like he really misses big-time Hollywood too much!
His next movie is Catch And Kill, which was due to start filming in August and is apparently a Weinstein inspired horror movie.