Ben Affleck has been in many films, from highly-regarded cinema darlings like Good Will Hunting to massive blockbusters like Justice League and some utter flops like Daredevil. However, one of his forgotten hits is currently the sixth most popular film on Netflix.
According to Flixpatrol’s figures, 2002’s The Sum Of All Fears is currently popular on Netflix. The film is based on the 1991 novel of the same name by Tom Clancy and is actually part of the Jack Ryan franchise. This specific film, however, isn’t linked to the other movies based on the Jack Ryan stories, nor is it related to the 2018 Jack Ryan TV series.
The film stars Ben Affleck as Jack Ryan, a CIA analyst. When the Russian president dies, he is replaced by Alexander Nemerov, a man the American government is extremely unsure about. While investigating this new leader, Jack Ryan gets pulled into a shadowy conspiracy involving stolen uranium, nuclear weapons, and a neo-fascist group that wants to trigger a war between America and Russia so they can establish a fascist super-state in the ruins of Europe during the confusion.
The film has an all-star cast. Affleck is the lead, but he is expertly supported by Morgan Freeman, who plays Bill Cabot, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Legendary actor James Cromwell takes the role of US president J. Robert Fowler and Ciarán Hinds puts in a stunning performance as Alexander Nemerov. Praise must also be given to Alan Bates, who puts in a chillingly realistic performance as Richard Dressler; he makes a massive impact despite his limited screen time.
The film got mixed reviews when it was released. Many critics praised the cinematography and special effects. Others argued that the plot was hard to follow and that, while the film was visually impressive, it lacked any real depth. Many reviews pointed out that the film felt like a poor middle ground between the silly action of a James Bond film and a serious political thriller, leading to a confused and disjointed experience. Other critics felt that Affleck wasn’t a good choice for Jack Ryan, arguing that he didn’t have the air of authority that Harrison Ford had when he played the character in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger in the 1990s.
In later years, many have criticized the film’s simplistic and uncritical view of American foreign policy. They also argue that the storyline doesn’t do justice to the complex topics of terrorism and fascism. In fact, many consider the film to be the epitome of American military-focused media post 9/11, arguing that it makes clear the biases that ran through media during that period. Because of that, the film only has a 49 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes today, with many modern viewers saying that the film has aged poorly.
The Sum Of All Fears is a fascinating film on many levels. The film is a fun thriller with some cool effects far ahead of their time. It is perfect for those who want a fun action movie to watch. It also represents a unique time for Ben Affleck, where he was still trying to find his footing as a leading man and was yet to discover the screen presence that would lead him to future success.