The End of the World Never Looked so Beautiful
Joseph Kosinski’s Oblivion is a beautiful film. The films view on nature is inspiring. The landscapes depicted, as desolate as they may seem, only highlight the power, scale and beauty of the earth. The last Sci-Fi that I saw of this magnitude was Prometheus and although that also looked fantastic it failed to deliver in terms of narrative. So the question is, how does Oblivion?
The film has a number of twists and turns, a few of which are apparent in the trailer(!). I would say all of the twists bar perhaps one, are rather predictable. However this still doesn’t prevent my enjoyment of the film. The jist is this. Jack (Tom Cruise) and Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) live on a destroyed earth, after a war with an unknown species called ‘Scavs’ leaves the planet and moon in ruins the remaining population of earth has moved to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. Jack and Julia are assigned as the mop up squad on earth, maintaining robots that work to protect a large structure that absorbs energy from the ocean in order to provide that energy for the colonies of Titan. Jack begins to question his position in the role he has undertaken and shortly discovers that all is not as it seems.
The overall story arc of the film seems to have been done time and time again however there are smaller plot elements that make this story much more interesting. Its intertwining of twists often overlap each other making, at times, more questions arise. I read in an article that said it seems Kosinski presumes that the audience know as much about the narrative as he does making the story hard to follow and difficult to understand. I think this is rubbish. The film doesn’t spoon feed its audience and never directly tells the audience what they are supposed to understand through the visuals but for me this is great. It often makes you question your theories of what seems like a straight forward narrative. This is what I enjoyed about the film, although the narrative was predictable, Kosinski has thrown curve balls at the audience to deter them from what they think is happening.
The film most certainly looks amazing. It’s as though every shot is a money shot and is a prime example of how the often over used method of CGI can create superb and exhilarating settings for a film. There was never a moment when I questioned the landscape of the film, which in a Sci-Fi is integral. The costume and set design were both astounding although Jacks gun did remind me of the old SNES Super Scope and the soundtrack was emotional and exciting.
Oblivion is not a perfect film and I don’t think it will be for everyone, but it’s a great Sunday night watch, in a dark room with those speakers turned right up.