Tom Clancy's Without Remorse
starring Michael B. Jordan, Jodie Turner-Smith, Jamie Bell, Guy Pearce
screenplay by Taylor Sheridan and Will Staples, based on the novel by Tom Clancy
directed by Stefano Sollima
by Walter Chaw A little less than halfway through Stefano Sollima's Without Remorse, ex-Navy SEAL hotshot John Kelly (Michael B. Jordan), decked out in an orange prison jumpsuit, tells his former commanding officer, Lt. Greer (Jodie Turner-Smith), that they fought for a country that didn't love them for the promise the United States represented--and that, somewhere along the way, a contract was broken. Kelly is the blunt object the Daniel Craig Bond cycle identified Her Majesty's finest as: the spiked ball at the end of a medieval pike, all dressed up in fancy gadgets and ritualized dogma, amounting at the end to savagery in patriotic drag. He's not Odysseus in this construct, he's Achilles; his only weakness is that he believed there was ever a contract in the first place. The message is clear in this re-imagining of one of Tom Clancy's lesser-known bits of military/industrial agitprop that should this become a franchise, the thrust of it will be that its rage is righteous...and righteously Black. Simply the name change for Kelly from the source material's "Clark" speaks to the idea of rejecting one name, given by a white person, in favour of a name one chooses for oneself when specific social contracts have been breached. And the moment of Kelly's radicalization, when his home is violated and his life is stolen, likewise assumes a particular racial resonance.