The Sum of All Fears (film)
|The Sum of All Fears|
|Directed by||Phil Alden Robinson|
|Produced by||Mace Neufeld|
|Screenplay by||Paul Attanasio
|Based on||The Sum of All Fears
by Tom Clancy
Philip Baker Hall
|Music by||Jerry Goldsmith|
|Editing by||Neil Travis
Nicolas de Toth
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Running time||124 minutes|
The Sum of All Fears is a 2002 American action/political thriller film directed by Phil Alden Robinson and based on Tom Clancy's novel of the same name. Starring Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman, it was released by Paramount Pictures in the United States on May 31, 2002, along with the video game of the same name.
This fourth film in the Jack Ryan film series is a reboot set in 2002, with Ryan portrayed as younger than in the 1990 film The Hunt for Red October (set in 1984) starring Alec Baldwin, and in that film's sequels, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, both of which starred Harrison Ford.
In 2002, a Syrian scrap dealer uncovers a large unexploded bomb buried in the desert and sells it to a South African arms dealer named Olson (Colm Feore) for $400. Olson recognizes it as an Israeli nuclear weapon that was lost when the A-4 Skyhawk carrying it was shot down during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. He sells it for $50 million to a secretive far-right cabal seeking to impose a white supremacist world order, led by Austrian billionaire and closet neo-Nazi Richard Dressler (Alan Bates). Olson loads the weapon onto a cargo ship in Haifa bound for Europe.
Meanwhile, the President of Russia (Richard Marner) collapses suddenly and dies. He is succeeded by Aleksandr Nemerov (Ciarán Hinds), a relatively unknown figure who many in the west perceive as a "hardliner." CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Ben Affleck), who has researched Nemerov's background extensively, is summoned by Director William Cabot (Morgan Freeman) to accompany him to Russia to meet the new President. In Moscow, Nemerov develops a rapport with Ryan, but gives Cabot a stern warning to take back to American President J. Robert Fowler (James Cromwell) to not involve the United States in the war in Chechnya. Cabot and Ryan are then allowed to examine a Russian nuclear weapons facility as perscribed by the START treaty, where Ryan notices the absence of three scientists listed on the facility's roster. Anatoli Grushkov (Michael Byrne), a close aide of President Nemerov and a former KGB assassin, gives innocuous excuses for their absence, but on the flight back to the U.S. Cabot shows Ryan a communique from "Spinnaker," his secret informant inside the Kremlin, revealing that the Russian government does not know the men's whereabouts.
Cabot sends Special Activities Division operative John Clark (Liev Schreiber) to Russia to investigate the missing scientists, and gives Ryan two tickets to the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, as the trip caused Ryan to miss a date with Catherine Muller (Bridget Moynahan), a Baltimore surgery resident. The dinner is cut short by reports of a massive Russian chemical attack on the Chechen capital of Grozny that leaves tens of thousands of civilians dead. Ryan joins Cabot in a National Security Council meeting in the White House Situation Room and expresses his suspicion that Nemerov did not order the attack, but the rest of the Council is skeptical and President Fowler announces plans to deploy NATO forces to Chechnya as peacekeepers. The attack was the work of rogue military commanders, but Nemerov publicly claims to have ordered it so as not to give the impression that he cannot control his military.
Clark tracks the missing scientists to a former Soviet military facility in Ukraine, where Cabot suspects they are building a secret nuclear weapon that Russia could use without any way to trace it back to them. Clark sees Olson outside the facility and later infiltrates it to find that the scientists have been killed and whatever they were working on is gone, but he does find the empty crate from Haifa.
In a recording, Dressler explains his plan: in order to transform Europe into a united fascist superstate, he intends to start a nuclear war between the United States and Russia that will devastate them both.
Ryan and his colleagues discern that a crate from the facility in Ukraine was flown to the Canary Islands, then sent to Baltimore on a cargo ship. Ryan warns Cabot, who is attending a football game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore with the President. The President's Secret Service protection detail is able to evacuate them from the stadium, where the bomb is hidden in a cigarette machine, but there is no time to evacuate the rest of the stadium or the city. The President's motorcade is able to get out of the city before the bomb detonates, but it is wrecked by the shock wave. U.S. Marines find the wrecked vehicles and evacuate the President by helicopter to the National Airborne Operations Center. They take a severely wounded Cabot to a field hospital in Baltimore. To escalate the situation, a corrupt Russian Air Force general who has been paid off by Dressler sends Tu-22M Backfires to attack a U.S. Navy carrier battle group led by the USS John C. Stennis in the North Sea. The general flees after giving the order.
Ryan learns from the radiation assessment team that the isotopic signature of the fissile material from ground zero pinpoints it as having been manufactured at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina in 1968, evidence which would seem to exonerate the Russians. Unable to alert the President, Ryan finds Cabot in the field hospital who tells him to contact Spinnaker before succumbing to his wounds. Spinnaker tells Ryan that the fissile material was "stolen" from the plant by the CIA and given to Israel. Meanwhile, President Fowler orders a retaliatory airstrike against the base that launched the attack on the USS Stennis by U.S. Air Force F-16s. In Syria, Clark tracks down Ghazi, one of the men who found the bomb, now dying of radiation exposure. He tells Clark that he sold the bomb to Olson, who lives in Damascus.
President Fowler orders the military to the highest state of alertness as he prepares to launch tactical nuclear strikes against Russian military targets using B-2 stealth bombers and Ohio-class nuclear submarines, and President Nemerov prepares to launch retaliatory ICBM strikes. Ryan is able to reach the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon and get a message to Nemerov saying that he knows that Russia was not behind the attack and asks Nemerov to stand down his forces as a show of good faith. Grushkov persuades Nemerov to do this against the advice of his military commanders. President Fowler follows suit, calling off the attack. Ryan goes to the Baltimore hospital where Muller works to find that she survived unharmed.
The participants in the conspiracy are assassinated: John Clark sneaks into Olson's home and slits his throat with a hunting knife. General Dubinin, who ordered the attack on the USS Stennis, is chased through a snow covered forest and gunned down by Russian agents. Dressler, aware he is being targeted, has his aide start his car to rule out a car bomb. The car then explodes shortly after Dressler presses the cigarette lighter as Grushkov looks on. Presidents Fowler and Nemerov announce new nuclear disarmament and counter-proliferation measures in joint speeches on the South Lawn of the White House. Ryan and Muller are having a picnic near the National Mall when they are approached by Grushkov, who reveals that he is Spinnaker. He gives Muller a "modest gift" for her engagement to Ryan. Muller and Ryan are perplexed, as they had not yet told anyone of their engagement. Ryan asks Grushkov how he could possibly know about it, but he simply smiles, shrugs and walks away.
- Ben Affleck as Jack Ryan
- Morgan Freeman as William Cabot, Director of Central Intelligence
- Bridget Moynahan as Dr. Catherine Muller
- James Cromwell as J. Robert Fowler, President of the United States
- Liev Schreiber as John Clark
- Michael Byrne as Anatoly Grushkov, senior advisor to President Nemerov.
- Colm Feore as Olson
- Alan Bates as Richard Dressler
- Ron Rifkin as Sidney Owens, Secretary of State
- Ciarán Hinds as Alexander Nemerov, President of the Russian Federation
- Bruce McGill as Gene Revell, National Security Advisor
- Richard Marner as President Zorkin, President of the Russian Federation prior to Nemerov
- Philip Baker Hall as David Becker, Secretary of Defense
- Josef Sommer as Senator Jessup
- Ken Jenkins as Admiral Pollack
- Philip Akin as General Wilkes
- John Beasley as General Lasseter, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
After the release of Clear and Present Danger in 1994, a year was spent developing Tom Clancy's The Cardinal of the Kremlin before the material was deemed too difficult to adapt resulting in producer Mace Neufeld purchasing the rights to Clancy's The Sum of All Fears. In October 1999, Harrison Ford announced that the next Jack Ryan novel being scripted into a film will indeed be The Sum of All Fears and that "hopefully we'll get that to a place where we can make a movie." During this time, writer Akiva Goldsman wrote multiple drafts of the script. However, on June 8, 2000, it was announced that Ford dropped out of the film after he and director Phillip Noyce were unable to work out script problems. It was later announced that Ben Affleck would take on the role in a $10 million deal that will see the series rebooted with Jack Ryan portrayed at an earlier stage in life. "The day I received the offer to play Jack Ryan, I was filming a Pearl Harbor scene with Alec Baldwin. He was very sweet and said I should do it," said Affleck. "I wouldn't have done the movie without talking to Harrison Ford first. He gave me his blessing. That's what I needed to hear." Months after Affleck became attached to the project, director Phil Alden Robinson was brought on to helm the project.
Principal photography for The Sum of All Fears began on February 12, 2001 in Montreal, Quebec. A majority of the film was shot in Montreal, including the sequences at the football game that were shot in the city's Olympic Stadium. Additional filming was done at the Diefenbunker in Ottawa, Ontario. Production wrapped in June 2001.
The musical score to The Sum of All Fears is composed by Jerry Goldsmith. A soundtrack album was released on June 4, 2002 by Elektra Records. In addition to Goldsmith's score, the soundtrack also includes source music such as "If We Get Through This" by Tabitha Fair and "Nessun dorma" by Giacomo Puccini. There are also two tracks from the album ("If We Could Remember" and "The Mission") that are vocal interpretations of Goldmsith's primary theme co-written by singer-songwriter Paul Williams.
Deviations from the book
While the basic plot was the same, there were significant changes from the book. Noting these substantial changes, in the commentary track on the DVD release, Tom Clancy jokingly introduces himself as "the author of the book that he [director Phil Alden Robinson, who is present with Clancy] ignored."
Perhaps the largest change original terrorists in the novel were Arab nationalists, but in the film, they are changed to neo-fascists. A common misconception is that this was done as a reaction to the September 11 attacks. However, the movie finished filming in June 2001.
On the "making-of" DVD extra, the director says that this was purely for elements relating to the plot, as Arab terrorists would not be able to plausibly accomplish all that was necessary for the story to work. (In addition, the terrorists in the book received significant aid from elements in East Germany, a country which had ceased to exist before the novel was even published.) The group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) did mount a two-year lobbying campaign that ended on January 26, 2001, against using "Muslim villains", as the original book version did. Director Phil Alden Robinson is quoted in a letter to CAIR saying "I hope you will be reassured that I have no intention of promoting negative images of Muslims or Arabs, and I wish you the best in your continuing efforts to combat discrimination".
Screenwriter Dan Pyne claims that the decision to not use Arab terrorists was "possibly because that has become a cliché. At the time that I started writing The Sum of All Fears, Joerg Haider was just starting to come into play in Austria. And simultaneous with that, I think, there was some neo-nationalist activity in Holland, and there was stuff going on in Spain and in Italy. So it seemed like a logical and lasting idea that would be universal." It has also been noted that a larger percent of profits stems from international audiences, and American filmmakers work to avoid alienating large segments of this customer base.
While the film was speculated to be released in late 2001, The Sum of All Fears was theatrically released on May 31, 2002. Many media outlets characterized this apparent change in release date to be a delay due to the September 11 attacks. Addressing the release date, director Phil Alden Robinson said, "When I came on board in August of 2000, they said, 'This is a Summer-of-2002 picture.'" As the first film released since September 11 to deal so vividly with terrorism, critics believed it to be too alarming to be released nearly nine months after the attacks.
The film received mixed reviews. As of November 2009, Rotten Tomatoes reports that 59% of critics gave the film positive reviews and that the average rating was 6/10 based on a total of 168 reviews counted. The consensus is that the film is "A slick and well-made thriller that takes on new weight due to the current political climate." Peter Travers criticised Affleck's performance, saying it "merely creates an outline for a role he still needs to grow into, a role that Harrison Ford effortlessly filled with authority." Richard Roeper felt the film "is almost impossible to follow -- and there's something cringe-inducing about seeing an American football stadium nuked as pop entertainment." Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune called it "an implausible apocalypse without depth or resonance", while Peter Rainer of New York magazine felt the "movie has been upstaged by the sum of our fears."
A few positive reviews came from The Argus, who praised Freeman for giving "the William Cabot character such validity." Roger Ebert felt that "the use of the neo-Nazis is politically correct: Best to invent villains who won't offend any audiences." He also said that "Jack Ryan's one-man actions in post-bomb Baltimore are unlikely and way too well-timed."
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- Brassfield, Mike (June 1, 2002). "'Sum of All Fears' tests our post-9/11 threshold for plots". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
- Van Susteren, Greta (June 3, 2002). "The Sum of All Fears Controversy". Fox News Channel. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
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- "529 Reviews by Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune". Retrieved 26-May-2013.
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- The Sum of All Fears at the Internet Movie Database
- The Sum of All Fears at allmovie
- The Sum of All Fears at Box Office Mojo
- The Sum of All Fears at Rotten Tomatoes