An unnerving sniper killing five people kicks off the action in “Jack Reacher,” a heartbreaking reminder of the tragic Newtown massacre. Once this difficult-to-watch scene ends, a well-written detective procedural follows, except that title character Jack Reacher isn’t a detective, which makes the plot all the more intriguing.
Writer/director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck made one of the most compelling, brilliant films with The Lives of writing essays Others. In 2007 it won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Now with The Tourist he shows he can masterfully direct contemporary, albeit inconsequential cloak-and-dagger plots as well as he did in his incisive condemnation of the East German Stasi.