Oblivion: Picturesque Sci-Fi Adventure
Andrea RiseboroughMelissa Leo...
Action & AdventureScience Fiction
After his directorial debut with the 2010 science fiction film, Tron: Legacy, American architect-turned-director, Joseph Kosinski – this time serving as both director and screenwriter – delves into another sci-fi adventure with Oblivion. The second time around seems to have been the charm for Kosinski, who manages to deliver another visually crisp and spectacular looking piece of work.
Based on his unpublished graphic novel of the same, Oblivion is a sleek, intelligent and beautifully crafted story that not only offers stunning visuals, but a deeply layered plot that will keep you guessing all the way through.
The year is 2077; war with a mysterious alien race has left our beloved Earth unfit for human survival due to the destruction of the moon and the climatic and geological changes that soon followed. It’s been exactly sixty years since the alien invasion and though mankind won, the planet was lost.
As the only two people left on Earth, drone repairman and top security officer, Jack Harper (Cruise), and his skilled assistant, Victoria (Riseborough), reside in a sleek tower made of glass – a home high above the clouds looking down on Earth. Left behind to act as a two-man ‘mop up crew’, Jack’s job involves flying down to the Earth’s surface to keep an eye on the drones that serve as the high-tech security machines, and to also extract what valuable resources are left.
The crew has only two weeks left on duty, before they head out to Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, where civilisation now exists. Victoria can’t wait to pack her bags but Jack is hesitant about leaving the place he still calls home; he’s plagued with dreams about the invasion and a recurring female face. Things, however, take a turn for the weird when a mysterious ship crashes on Earth, carrying a mysterious female passenger – the very same one that appears in Jack’s dreams.
Kosinski offers wonderful art direction; deserted grounds, hi-tech gadgets and a lot of sterling silvers and sleek whites fill the first forty, picturesque, minutes of the film.
There are plenty of plot twists and turns to keep you intrigued, but the flow of information does become somewhat muddled and you might be left with a big question mark above your head after the credits roll. The way Kosinski chooses to unravel the narrative’s truth is clever, but feels a little hasty. Character development is relatively weak and there is little emotional connection to rise above the sterile world in which the film is set in.
Now fifty years young, Cruise has never looked better and he handles the physical challenges of his role with great ease. Riseborough – as the stern and meticulous assistant – delivers a slightly more poignant performance, humanising her character in the process.
Polished, striking and slightly more profound than your usual sci-fi showdown, Oblivion is an intelligent sci-fi tale that promises a good time, regardless of its shortcomings.