First Mission

Relevant Film:

This clip isn’t the whole scene as the scene is about 16 minutes long.

The first mission, as explained by the briefing is to get the NOC (Non-Official Cover) list from Golitsyn. From the film: “we photograph Golitsyn stealing the NOC list, follow him to his buyer, apprehend both of them”. This scene starts at the Embassy in Prague at a party. Ethan Hunt poses as US Senator John Waltzer, chair of the US Armed Services. He has a mask to make him look like the senator.

The mission starts out fine but goes bad fast.   Ethan Hunt and Sarah Davies get the picture of Golitsyn stealing the NOC list. Things start to go bad as Jack Harmon struggles to get the systems working.   In fact, he has such troubles that he ends up dying from an elevator gone rogue. Jim Phelps tells the team that someone is on to them and to abort the mission. He runs across the bridge, gets shot and falls in the water.   The rest of Ethan’s team gets killed, except for Ethan Hunt and Claire.   At least that’s what we are led to believe.   However, later we find out that Jim Phelps survived too.

One nice touch is that Jack Harmon has been billed as a guy who can hack into any system.   I’ve spent 30 years in the Information Technology field and I hate it when a film has someone hack into anything in 2 seconds and never have any problems.   Jack struggles, in part due to Jim’s efforts, but this would be closer to reality than we normally see in films.

This scene shows us the mission as it goes awry. We find out what happened later, but the technique used here is to fool the audience (and the IMF team) and make them think they are seeing one thing while another thing is happening.

The Mission: Impossible television show relied on confidence games.   The original production team members were big fans of the book The Big Con and the movie The Sting.   The characters in the show and the person reading or watching would get fooled into believing they were seeing one thing and really another thing was going on.   The television show used that technique often.   This mission is one of those scenarios as we will discuss in the Restaurant Scene discussion.