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It is widely hoped in Hollywood circles that this movie does well; Mimi Leder, fresh off her Emmy award-winning directing on "ER," is one of the first women tapped to direct a mainstream blockbusting thriller. If this one breaks out, well, then more women might get the chance to direct the summer flicks, which would be a good thing for all of us.
Unfortunately, "The Peacemaker" might not be up to the task. George Clooney plays Thomas Devoe, a special forces military agent who acts as a liason between the army and Julia Kelly (Nicole Kidman), a NSC nuke specialist wrestled from her swimming pool by the news that a nuclear bomb has gone off in the Ural Mountains. A few peeks at a satellite image give the terrorists away at almost every juncture; now it's up to our two heroes to stop a Serbian nationalist from getting to America before he microwaves half the East Coast.
Any nuclear bomb going off in any movie—especially since "The Day After" kept us up all night in 1983—puts a strange hue over any proceedings. This is something the filmmakers ought to have remembered before they got us all embroiled in the Kidman-Clooney flirt-fest; I can't imagine anyone smiling anywhere a few thousand miles downwind from the nuclear winter. The blast happens, then is forgotten about, even as millions of Eastern Europeans face having children with seven arms. They pulled the same trick in "Independence Day" last year—we're happy because the pooch survived...who cares that the entire town of Houston has been liquified?
Yeah, yeah—it's just a movie. Even so, it's a second-rate thriller. Kidman is fine, a feisty little red-maned bureaucrat softened by the undulations of The Real World, but Clooney just seems like he's stunned to be taken seriously. Box-office poison for a few years now ("From Dusk 'Til Dawn," "Batman & Robin," "One Fine Day"), Clooney's problem may be that he's just too much like the audience. His shaky head and practiced grins are more a wink to us than they are to his intended. Either way, the scrapes on his face seem more like ketchup than blood, and that's no way to let us lose ourselves in the heat of battle.
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