IMG_1408A sickening killing melee opens the movie.  Some nut-case unloads a half a dozen rounds from a parking structure on the citizens of Pittsburgh.  He is shooting across the river to people enjoying the day.

It is disturbing to be peering through the scope of an assassins rifle, watching as he sets the crosshairs on unsuspecting, innocent civilians.  This normal reaction by law-abiding people is the basis for a story that digs up our national desire to see justice meted out on those who are wicked.  Now, we want the story on the screen to give us a solution to the tension that has been generated in our minds.

This is the heart of good story telling.  Raise a need in the minds of those who hear a story and give them a reason to expect a solution that will be satisfying to them.  Race from option to option, tantalize their appetite for a quick resolve with misdirection.  

Most importantly, as a villain is taking shape on the silver screen, be sure to bring a hero who will save the day.  Make him bright, capable, clever and vulnerable at the same time.  Throw in some swashbuckling action and you have a story that will bring some good entertainment to the audience who has paid for an enjoyable matinée.

The tragic shooting of five seemingly random innocents impassioned the city to demand that city law enforcement find the killer.  Swiftly and methodically, the detective in charge of the investigation has an arrest in record time, a mere 18 hours a prime suspect is in custody.  Watching the collection of evidence  and the detective work unfold is impressive.

A city is relieved and the police are heralded as heroes.  But, the suspect injects a twist into the story.  There is no confession just a handwritten note for outside help, a stranger, a mysterious individual who is not even a friend: Jack Reacher.

His background, training, skills, mysterious episodes as intrigue to the solution of the case.  There is seemingly betrayal, tempting romance, swashbuckling action, novel twists, suspicions that prove false and a surprise ending that begs for a sequel if not a series.

It is comic-bookish invention of a near superhero.  Mental acumen is his superpower.  The story is entertaining, the movie is worth a look, I enjoyed it with my family during our holiday ventures.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography