It's the bomb
The Sum of All Fears
Review by Ross Anthony

The production starts out light-hearted, good-humored, but professional; then steps up to profound. Ben Affleck plays the historian (ex-marine) borrowed by the CIA for his expertise on the newest Russian leader. Morgan Freeman who seems to be relaxing just a bit too much in this role plays the veteran intelligence adviser to the president (Cromwell). Films like "Fail Safe" come to mind.

As the advert forewarns, a nuclear weapon is missing and the bad guys are up for a nasty little war, only Affleck has the knowledge base to prevent catastrophe.

Very well directed from beginning to end, Robinson masterfully invokes the mood and then changes it with strength and discipline. Save for the resolution, that is, which plays forgivably a bit rushed.

A few implausibilities pale in comparison to the magnitude and seriousness of the piece. The "Star Spangled Banner" as sung by Arnold McCuller and accompanied by a rifle loud drum march sets the stage exceptionally well for a surprising turn of events. Artfully shot, well scripted, with tremendous direction. In addition to Affleck, Cromwell and Schreiber also deliver strong performances. It's a big movie.

  • The Sum of All Fears. Copyright © 2002. Rated PG-13.
  • Starring Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman, James Cromwell, Liev Schreiber, Alan Bates, Philip Baker Hall, Ron Rifkin.
  • Directed by Phil Alden Robinson.
  • Screenplay by Paul Attanasio and Daniel Pyne.
  • Produced by Mace Neufeld at Paramount.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:54:36 PDT