Clear and Present Danger

I had hoped that I would find the time for some movies during the holidays, but the only movie I actually saw was “The Duchess” (that I’d recommend to those who love period dramas). Sometimes I feel like I have more time for my hobbies when I’m working than on my days off. :doh:

However, I took my dvds out last weekend and watched “Clear and Present Danger”. Released in 1994, “Clear and Present Danger” is based on a novel by Tom Clancy.

When his mentor, Admiral Greer, is diagnosed with cancer, CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) is appointed acting CIA Deputy Director of Intelligence. His first assignment: investigate the murder of one of the President’s friends, a prominent U.S. businessman with secret ties to Colombian drug cartels. Unbeknownst to Ryan, the CIA has already dispatched a deadly field operative to lead a paramilitary force against the Colombian drug lords. Caught in the crossfire, Ryan takes matters into his own hands, risking his career and life for the only cause he still believes in – the truth.

Benjamin plays Captain Ramirez, the the right hand man, lieutenant to James Clark (Willem Dafoe), the field operative dispatched to lead a paramilitary force against the Colombian drug lords.

The plot hinges on one crucial question: how far can a President go to achieve a laudable goal, even if this means crossing moral, legal and international boundaries?

Corruption is an underlying theme in this movie. It is not necessarily big-money corruption, merely the act of cover-up, subterfuge and failure to follow due process. The president wants vengeance against Colombian drug lords so orders covert military operations, against the express wishes of Congress, while bit-players in the CIA and NSC manoeuvre to protect themselves if and when it all goes bad. When it does, they surrender the troops in a fit of deal-making and cover-up, while the key drug lord himself has been double-crossed. Ryan, in the guise of an intelligence expert rather than a fighter, puts all the pieces together and goes to any extent to do what is right: firstly to rescue the troops from Colombia, and then to expose the stench of presidential and bureaucratic corruption.

The stand-out scene is when Ryan returns after saving the troops from Colombia and confronts the President in the Oval Office, bunting away his offers and then his threats. Ford’s acting in this scene conveys frustration, sadness and raw fury, barely restrained by respect for the office, as he squares off against the most powerful man in the world. But in the end he leaves with his dignity intact, which is the underlying moral of the story: that doing the right thing is ultimately dignifying.

Though the approach to the story is of the black/white kind, this movie is still a great action/political thriller and was effective in catching me up.

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