Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit | 2014
- Locations |
- New York;
- DIRECTOR |
- Kenneth Branagh
Another origins story, this time it’s Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) graduating from student to Marine to CIA analyst. Although set mainly in New York and Moscow, most of the movie was made in London and Liverpool.
The opening really is supposed to be London as the young Ryan wakes from a quick snooze on a bench in New Square, Lincoln’s Inn, to realise something’s happenin’. Incidentally, Chris Pine was back in Lincoln's Inn, this time standing in for the 'Thames waterfront', in Patty Jenkins's Wonder Woman.
He follows the crowd past Old Buildings and through the vaulted Undercroft to Houghton Street and the entrance to the famed London School of Economics. The date is 2001 and along with the others, Ryan watches the events of 9/11 on the TV news report.
The striking Undercroft is a favourite location, seen also in Tony Richardson’s 1963 Oscar-winner Tom Jones – and in two Ian McKellen films, the 1995 version of Richard III and 2015 drama Mr Holmes.
Joining the Marines in response, Ryan’s ’copter is downed over Afghanistan and he finds himself recovering from spinal injuries, having to learn to walk again in the ‘Walter Reed Military Medical Centre’, ‘Washington DC’. The smart modern facility, where he’s fortunate enough to come under the care of Cathy Muller (Keira Knightley – well it wasn't going to be Hattie Jacques, was it?) is Building 3 of the new North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South in New Southgate, London N11.
Not only that, he’s recruited by CIA operative Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner) as a covert business analyst. There’s a glimpse of the real Manhattan as Ryan emerges from Wall Street Subway Station, and later goes to see Sorry, Wrong Number (oh, and furtively meet his contact) at the indie and arthouse cinema Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, west of 6th Avenue.
The smart ‘Manhattan’ restaurant, though, where Ryan is distracted by the TV news and agrees to go to Paris with Cathy, is back In London. It’s The Artisan Of Clerkenwell, 53 St John's Square, in – where else? – trendy Clerkenwell, EC1. You might remember Clerkenwell as the neighbourhood of Will (Hugh Grant) in About A Boy, and it was in nearby Clerkenwell Close that Heath Ledger filmed what turned out to be his final scene for Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium Of Dr Parnassus.
In fact, Ryan is off to Moscow to trace some mysterious hidden holdings. There are driving scenes in Russia, past St Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin, but the ‘Hotel Grushinski’, where Ryan gets a less than warm welcome from his contact, is Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square, London WC1. You really can’t fault the Grushinski’s housekeeping, can you? By the way, the Conference Room here was used as the suite of dying businessman Fischer (Pete Postlethwaite) in Christopher Nolan’s Inception and it also became the exterior of 'Selfridge' department store, where Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) gets kitted out with a more appropriate wardrobe, in Wonder Woman.
Still in the UK capital, the glitzy highrise office block HQ of Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh) is Exchange House, Primrose Street, Broadgate EC2, behind Liverpool Street Station. Coincidentally, it’s directly opposite Broadgate Tower, which was used as the ‘Shanghai’ highrise office in Skyfall.
The vast deserted church in which Cherevin swears vengeance on America and makes the first reference to ‘Alexander’ is Westminster Cathedral, Victoria Street, in Victoria (don’t confuse this Catholic cathedral with nearby Westminster Abbey). The cathedral has appeared on-screen before, as the Spanish court in Elizabeth The Golden Age. You may also remember the assassin plummeting from its belltower in Alfred Hitchcock’s Sabotage.
Apparently in the ‘USA’, another very different church, the starkly modernist church of ‘St Uriel the Archangel’ in ‘Dearborn, MI’, where the Lamentations operation is activated, is the 1958 Church of St John, on Bishop’s Rise, South Hatfield, in Hertfordshire, north of London.
Running just behind the church on Bishop’s Rise you’ll find the ‘Dearborn’ shopping mall where Alexander disposes of the FBI agent tailing him.
Having followed Ryan to Moscow, it falls to Cathy to keep Cherevin distracted in the city’s best restaurant, while vital details are downloaded from his conveniently nearby office. The restaurant is Senate House, University of London, Malet Street. This wonderfully adaptable Thirties location has previously been a ‘New York’ clinic in Tony Scott's vampire flick The Hunger, the king’s neo-fascist HQ in Richard Loncraine's Richard III, with Ian McKellen and, of course, the law courts of ‘Gotham City’ in Batman Begins.
The nighttime car chase through the streets of ‘Moscow’ was filmed up on Merseyside, around the Strand and Water Street in Liverpool, alongside the ‘Three Graces’ (the famous Royal Liver Building, The Cunard Building and The Port of Liverpool Building), before Cathy is rescued on the tree-fringed Canada Boulevard, running alongside the River Mersey (this boulevard of Canadian maple trees was established in 1995 by the Canadian Government as "a living memorial to Canadians" who died in the Battle of the Atlantic during WWII).
Apparently moving back to the US, but actually staying on Merseyside, the ‘Manhattan’ tunnel to which Ryan tracks the real terrorist plot, is the entrance to the disused Queensway Tunnel linking Birkenhead to Liverpool.
There’s finally a little more of genuine New York for the climactic car chase, around the East River waterfront southeast of Manhattan’s Financial District, along Beaver Street, Wall Street, Water Street, Front Street and Old Slip (‘Slips’ were once harbour inlets, long since filled in).