Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Review by Rich Cline | 4/5

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
dir James Mangold
scr Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, David Koepp, James Mangold
prd Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Simon Emanuel
with Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen, Ethann Isidore, Boyd Holbrook, Antonio Banderas, Toby Jones, John Rhys-Davies, Karen Allen, Thomas Kretschmann, Shaunette Renee Wilson, Olivier Richters
release US/UK 30.Jun.23
23/UK Disney 2h34

mikkelsen banderas allen

See also:
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

Is it streaming?

waller-bridge and ford
At age 80, it's unsurprising that Harrison Ford says this is his last turn as Indiana Jones. But this fifth adventure proves he's still got it, and the filmmakers throw him through a series of breakneck adventures that are thrilling and witty, packed with references to earlier films and just as absurd as we hope they'll be. Director James Mangold also deploys cutting-edge effects to create gloriously youthful flashbacks.
In 1969 Manhattan, venerable professor Indy (Ford) is dragged back into action by his quick-thinking goddaughter Helena (Waller-Bridge). She's chasing a relic created by Archimedes two millennia ago, a clock-like device that might be able to control time. But half of it is missing, and Nazi-in-hiding Voller (Mikkelsen) is after it too, assisted by a team of fearsome goons. Soon, Indy and Helena are headed to Tangiers, then Greece and Italy, to solve the puzzle with help from Moroccan street urchin Teddy (Isidore) and Athens fisherman Renaldo (Banderas). But Voller is hot on their trail.
An extended prologue set in the mid-1940s features a young Indy and Helena's father Basil (Jones) facing off against Voller for the dial. This rollicking sequence involves a series of exciting captures, escapes and chases, settings the tone for much more of the same moving forward. Indeed, the film only occasionally pauses to allow everyone to catch their breath before propelling them into the next expertly staged series of set-pieces. These take place on land, in the air, underground and underwater, and each is inventively designed to get our hearts pounding.

Even without his eerily seamless de-ageing digital makeup, Ford commands the screen as the rascally archaeologist who has lost none of his razor-sharp reflexes, from cracking that whip to manhandling a speeding tuk-tuk through narrow alleyways. His banter is on top form as well, creating terrific sparky relationships with the superbly slippery Waller-Bridge and angrily sputtering Mikkelsen. And the engaging Isodore holds his own through all of this.

It's appropriate that Mangold has more interest in pacing than narrative, crafting the plot as a series of swooping curves and dizzying loops that leave coherence behind. John Williams' iconic theme is what holds everything together, plus of course expert production values across the board, which give the audience a chance to get fully lost in the movie magic. And because it doesn't focus too closely on the frankly bonkers finale, the film goes out on a proper high.

cert 12 themes, language, violence 20.Jun.23

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© 2023 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall