The Sum of All Fears
The Return of Jack RyanBy Patrick Hereford
Written by Tom Clancy and Paul Attanasio
Directed by Phil Alden Robinson
Starring Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman
Opens May 31.
The Sum of All Fears is a much-anticipated movie for Clancy fans all over the world. Anyone who knows Clancy and his books knows about the character Jack Ryan from The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, The Sum of All Fears, and Clear and Present Danger. Picking the perfect Jack Ryan is no easy task. He must fit so many different profiles, be a man of intelligence and charm, and perhaps good-looking. Clancy chose Alec Baldwin for The Hunt for Red October, Harrison Ford for Clear and Present Danger and Patriot Games, and Ben Affleck for The Sum of all Fears.
Affleck said in a conference call with The Tech that he spent time at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia to prepare for the role. He also interviewed and spent time with real Russian analysts. “Most people at the CIA aren’t spies. They’re individuals writing documents and postulating ideas,” Affleck said. He also spent a majority of the time talking to and learning from his co-star Morgan Freeman. “When I signed on to do this role, I was delighted to be playing opposite Morgan. He’s been a hero of mine for years.” When The Tech asked him why he took the role of Jack Ryan, Affleck said, “I had a lot of feelings about the movie [because I am a huge Clancy fan]. It was a really big deal for me. It’s not your everyday movie. The Jack Ryan character is really appealing. I think getting to play Jack Ryan is like playing Hamlet. Everyone wants to play Hamlet.”
The movie begins with William Cabot (Freeman) searching for Jack Ryan because of an essay which describes in great detail the life of president Nemerov (Ciar N. Hinds). Cabot takes Ryan to Russia to find out some detail about the Nemerov presidency. Nemerov claims to have bombed a small country to make the world believe he is a “hardliner.”
While in Russia, Ryan discovers that three Russian scientists are missing from the nuclear development sector. These scientists are the key to making a nuclear bomb successful. Cabot tells Ryan to go to Russia again with John Clark (Liev Schreiber) to find out where these three scientists are located and what are they doing. After successfully infiltrating the Russian camp, Clark discovers that all three scientists are dead. The two spies rush back to the United States to report their findings to Cabot. When Ryan gets a signal, he calls Cabot and tells him the facts: there is a nuclear bomb somewhere in Baltimore and he must move the President as soon as possible. The devastating visuals and sounds of the ensuing explosion scene are so perfect the entire audience feels the shock and falls silent.
Not much more can be said without ruining the various surprises Clancy has in store for the audience. Each Jack Ryan movie is different from the others not because of the cast or because of the way the characters are portrayed, but because of the thought processes for different Jack Ryans. Affleck is best able to portray Jack Ryan because of his unique way of interacting with the other characters.
In a nod toward the post-Sept. 11 status of global politics, the production team replaces the Arab terrorists in Clancy’s novel with Neo-Fascists. They also change Jack Ryan from a husband to a bachelor. Minor changes aside, The Sum of All Fears is a thrilling action film that no Clancy fan should pass up.