We use cookies
This website uses cookies in order to improve your browsing experience. Read more on our cookie policies.
On location
George Blaustein
15 July 2023
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning (Part One)
Christopher McQuarrie, dir.


The American super-agent and the British super-agent are in love. For a moment, they’re together in Venice, and the British super-agent admits, to her own surprise (and ours), that she’s never been to Venice before. Neither has he, believe it or not. Theirs is a star-crossed love, for they cannot escape their calling. The movie’s Venice is definitely the real Venice, with a fight in a Venetian corridor too narrow to swing a sword in, and a death on an old bridge.

I saw Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning (Part One) in Amsterdam. Early in the film, when the mission is delivered, the mission that Tom Cruise / Ethan Hunt will inevitably choose to accept (it takes the form of an analog tape deck that self-destructs after five seconds), the location-title reveals that he’s in Amsterdam, which made the audience around me titter: hey that’s where we are, too! But the film never shows us Amsterdam, only a nondescript shadowy interior, so now I just assume that every screening of the movie names whatever city the screening is in.

Before pondering the locations of action cinema (and thus the vectors of our own nostalgias and aspirations), let us briefly rehearse the mystique of Tom Cruise’s action-hero Method-acting, and its storied relationship to cinema as art and industry.

Subscribe to the European Review of Books, from €4.16 per month.
A digital subscription gives you access to our complete Library. A print+digital subscription brings you a print magazine designed like no other.

A.S. Hamrah, « We Can Still Think Our Own Thoughts », n+1, Issue 33 (Winter 2019)

A staple of American ballads, blues and labor anthems, John Henry was an African American freedman who carved tunnels for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Railway in the mid-nineteenth century.

Ben Travis, « Christopher McQuarrie Responds To Mission: Impossible 7 Bridge Destruction Reports – Exclusive », Empire (6 August 2020).

Klingon is the secret code language that Mercury and his children use. They’re sentimental Trekkies. The live long and prosper hand signal is their way of saying I love you.