dir Joseph Kosinski
scr Joseph Kosinski, Karl Gajdusek, Michael Arndt
prd Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, Duncan Henderson, Joseph Kosinski, Barry Levine with Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Morgan Freeman, Melissa Leo, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Zoe Bell, David Madison, Abigail Lowe, Isabelle Lowe, John L Armijo, Catherine Kim Poon
release UK 12.Apr.13, US 19.Apr.12
13/US Universal 2h06
Top of the world: Kurylenko and Cruise

riseborough freeman leo
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Oblivion Some clever plot twists and just a bit of resonant emotion help make this sci-fi adventure more engaging than it has any right to be. Because otherwise, it's just a lot of cool-looking imagery combined with elements lifted from virtually every example of the genre, from Solaris and 2001 to Logan's Run, Independence Day and rather a lot of Wall-E.

It's been 60 years since aliens invaded in 2017, blasting the moon to smithereens and causing global chaos. So humanity is evacuating to Saturn's moon Titan, while two-person teams gather what's left and protect the planet from scavenger aliens. Team 49 consists of Jack and Victoria (Cruise and Riseborough), whose memories have been wiped for security reasons. But Jack has recurring dreams of old New York and a mystery woman (Kurylenko). So when he finds her alive and discovers a colony of scrappy humans led by Morgan Freeman, Jack begins to wonder what's really happening.

Frankly, after Jack's opening voiceover we know we can't believe anything we're told about this set-up. Creepy mission commander Sally (Leo) clearly isn't telling the full truth about anything. And there's something fishy about all of this impeccably sleek technology. Although as Jack becomes increasingly battered by the action he encounters on his odyssey, his gleaming white suit at least loses its sheen.

Cruise coasts through the role as usual, with just enough darkness to hold our sympathies. Riseborough and Kurylenko add intriguing emotional edges to their characters when we least expect them, while Coster-Waldau provides the spikiness as one of Freeman's lieutenants. And Freeman and Leo offer a bit of gravitas where needed. Together, this relatively small cast holds our interest as filmmaker Kosinski drip-feeds the plot points to us, leading to some surprising but not unexpected reality-bending revelations.

The fact that everything we see is vaguely familiar actually adds to the effect. Jack is haunted by his foggy memories, just as we can't help but feel that we've seen each scene in another movie. In combination, the cast and the story pull us in while the well-staged action and impressive effects keep us entertained, especially projected onto a gigantic Imax screen. But without anything particularly original going on, our memory of the film itself will fade fast.

cert 12 themes, language, violence 10.Apr.13

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Oblivion Still waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.
© 2013 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall