Editor’s Note: Whatever you think of him, Tom Cruise’ longevity as a performer can’t be denied. He has managed to move from young adult ingenue to hearthrob to serious actor to action star to respected actor while managing to be succesful at the box office. On August 5, 1983, Risky Business the first majorly successful Tom Cruise was released. 33 years later Tom Cruise is still a successful actor, albeit in a different way, Mark Curran takes a brief look at his career.
‘Alright so this is the World and there are five billion people on it. When I was a kid there were three. It’s hard to keep up’. – Jerry Maguire, 1992.
The opening lines of Jerry Maguire demonstrate the longevity of Tom Cruise’s acting career. Even in a world today, with a population of over seven billion, he is still the focus of blockbuster productions like Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015) and the yet to be released Mena (2017) and The Mummy (2017). It is perhaps due to this longevity that Sky Cinema decided to dedicate an entire channel to Cruise’s films in July. Throughout the month, the channel showcased a collection of the actors’ greatest hits and naturally therefore brought to attention Cruise’s vast range of characters.
Tom cruise has been able to maintain a career spanning four decades, due to the fact he has adapted his acting across the years and across his films. Whether he is portraying typical American dreamers Brian Flanagan (Cocktail, 1988) and Vincent Lauria (The Color of Money, 1986) or the power thirsty magnates Jerry Maguire, Charlie Babbitt (Rain Man, 1988) and David Aames (Vanilla Sky, 2001), Cruise creates an engaging story. What is consistent throughout Cruise’s films is a tough exterior. Flanagan wants to create a cocktail empire, Babbitt wants his lost inheritance and Jerry Maguire wants the highest paid sports starts to ‘show him the money’. However, although Cruise might initially display a frosty personality throughout several of his films the audience warm to him as they see the complexity of his characters unfold. The classic example being the loving relationship that develops between Charlie Babbitt and his autistic brother Raymond, as Cruise no longer see’s Raymond as a tool to get his inheritance but the brother he never knew he had.
When you contrast Cruise’s early films in the ‘80s and ‘90s to the high-octane adventures of the present such as Tropic Thunder (2008), Edge of Tomorrow (2014) and the Mission Impossible sequels you see the transition of an actor from rough diamond to A-list superstar. Cruise has come a long way from the acne ridden teenager trying to hire a prostitute in Risky Business (1983).
Cruise has been involved in some memorable productions which will go down in cinematic history. This importance can be seen by the memorable film quotes which are still quoted today. As well as the above mentioned ‘Show me the money’, there is also the highly dramatic ‘You can’t handle the truth’ from A Few Good Men (1992).
Many, me included, may argue that Cruise’s fame has perhaps clouded his acting ability and people forget his earlier work. The public now know Cruise for action adventures rather than the heart-warming dramas which I believe showcase his true talents. However, I hope that people appreciate Tom Cruise for what he is- a great actor and a great storyteller. I have mentioned just a few of his ever expanding film roles. I have not even touched on Top Gun (1986), Born on the Fourth of July (1989), Days of Thunder (1990) and Magnolia (1999), to name just a few.