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Oblivion
USA 2012
Directed by Joseph Kosinski
Running time 126 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Andrew Lee
2 stars


Jack (Tom Cruise) and his partner, Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), are the last people left on Earth after an alien invasion left the planet devastated. Everyone else has evacuated but the pair are there to maintain some power systems before they too will leave.  Jack is haunted by dreams of another woman and then she falls from the sky…

Oblivion is a very "meh" film. It’s pretty, but the characters are puddle-deep caricatures and I kept picking the plot twists the whole way through. Something some writers fail to understand is that plot twists aren’t much good to you if you aren’t actually telling a story and all that Oblivion delivers is a series of connected twists rather than an actual narrative. Being the Nostradamus of science fiction clichés, I wasn’t particularly engaged. I appreciate the mechanics of it all, but building an engine is useless when you’re missing the fuel to make it go. Add to that the juvenile depiction of women and you’re left with the sense that this film is the product of a sci-fi-obsessed young man afraid of girls.

There are some very pretty imaginary vistas, a few neat gadgets that will make your inner geek smile, and a soundtrack by M83 that’s quite enjoyable in the moments when it’s not trying to out-bombast Hans Zimmer. But there’s also a really awful story with plot holes bigger than the hole in the Moon that is one of the more interesting, if incidental, ideas in the film. There’s clearly an attempt to reach for something universal, to question identity, love and how we understand ourselves. And if you want to tie yourself up in knots ignoring the many failings of how those ideas are explored you might have a bit of fun with the base materials provided. But the execution is lacking, the writing is weak, the acting mostly just serviceable and the whole thing never quite comes together. Oblivion is not quite a bore, but it’s not much more either. Kind of worth it for the set design and the music but frankly…wait for the DVD.

 

 

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