Something even more unpredictable about this flick is Doug Liman's (The Bourne Identity, Edge of Tomorrow) superb directing. Liman's past filmography is wishy-washy, and mostly includes shallow action films. Liman's creativity behind the camera helps to progress this story, with varying shots and photography. The film goes from extreme close-ups to landscape shots in an instant, never ceasing to bring a spectacular image to the viewer. Found footage brings unfamiliar viewers (such as myself) into the past time period. So far, this is my favorite of Liman's films because the direction clearly leads the storyline. While we are constantly thrown forward in years, it's hard to get lost or confused about the plot.
In terms of acting, Tom Cruise and Domhnall Gleeson (Ex Machina, The Revenant, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2) give bring the energy to their respective roles. Cruise may be typecast as this point, but I'll be damned if he doesn't play the action hero part well. Even without huge stunt productions, it's hard to avert your eyes from Cruise piloting a plane. I will admit that it is still hard for me to take Domhnall Gleeson completely seriously because of that one big franchise he was in as a child, but he is definitely maturing into more serious roles. I foresee more big roles being thrown Gleeson's way after his success this year.
The Bottom Line: Liman brings on the action at a fast pace and a time period that many moviegoers weren't alive to witness.