Film Review: 'Oblivion'
Opened: 10 April 2013 (UK)
Cast: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Melissa Leo
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Producer: Joseph Kosinski/Universal Pictures
Tom Cruise is back at what he does best, saving the world albeit in the distant future. A science fiction film co-written, produced and directed by Joseph Kosinski and based on his unpublished graphic novel of the same name, Oblivion is meant to be a homage to science fiction films of the 1970s. With gorgeous, eye filling landscapes, impressive visuals and CGI and three impossibly good looking leads (Cruise has aged but still doesn't look 50), you'd think it'd be hard to find fault in the film. But after a thoroughly, enjoyable first half, the film slips into the mundane and goes on incessantly, ultimately dragging itself into, well, oblivion.
Jack is plagued by past memories, which aren't supposed to be there, as everyone has had their minds swept clean. He dreams of a woman (Olga Kurylenko) and the top of the Empire State Building. During one of his many daily repair jobs, he encounters a downed spacecraft with survivors --- and she is one of them. How his life is turned upside down after this unexpected encounter forms the crux of the story.
Oblivion was shot in stunning digital 4K resolution on location across the United States and Iceland, which is why the visually this film is nothing short of a cinematic marvel. The cinematography by Claudio Miranda is breathtaking and the film boasts of original music from Anthony Gonzalez, M.8.3 and Joseph Trapanese, which goes well with its mood.
But. And there's always a 'but'. There's only so much you can do with astounding visuals when the film itself is hollow. After an incredible first half, the pace of the film drops substantially, especially after Kurylenko's character becomes integral to the plot. Coming to her character, the actress though beautiful doesn't add much to the film in terms of performance. She's cold and practically lacking in emotion, and there's zero chemistry between her and Cruise's character. Compartively, Riseborough fares slightly better, but even she can't fully rise above her flat, half baked character.
Morgan Freeman, who appears in what can be billed at best a cameo, is criminally wasted and an actor of his calibre should have been given more to do.
The star of the show, unsurprisingly, is Cruise, who despite all the negative publicity off screen, still is the ultimate movie star even all these years on. He still has charisma, can still kick ass and seems to be having a ball with all the gadgets and gizmos at his disposal. And that scene where he fights a clone of himself - simply awesome.
Ultimately though, neither Cruise, nor the technical wizardry can prevent Oblivion from becoming annoyingly dull. The plot gets complicated and as much as I wanted to enjoy it, after a point I just got restless and bored.
I'm going with two stars out of five for this one. A spectacular looking film that ultimately goes nowhere and ends up testing your patience for its two hour plus running time.
iew the trailer of Oblivion below.