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New Release Review - Oblivion

Sci-fi drama set 60 years after the earth is destroyed by a nuclear war.


Directed by: Joseph Kosinski
Starring: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Andrea Riseborough, Olga Kurylenko, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Melissa Leo, Zoe Bell

In 2017, earth goes to war with an invading alien race, resulting in the nuclear destruction of the planet. The survivors establish a new colony on Titan, a moon of Saturn. Jack Harper (Cruise) is a former marine stationed on Earth whose job consists of maintaining the drones which seek out and destroy the few remaining aliens, known as "scavs". He and his communications officer Victoria (Riseborough) have had their memories wiped prior to this assignment so as to protect the location of Earth's survivors. Harper, however, is plagued by the inexplicable memory of meeting a young woman, Julia (Kurylenko), at the top of a pre-war Empire State building.
With his magnetic personality, Tom Cruise was perfectly cast in 'Lions For Lambs' as the sort of politician who could convince a nation to go to war. The guy is one hell of a salesman. Appearing all over the U.K and Irish media last week to promote 'Oblivion', he had me pumped for what seemed like a sophisticated piece of science fiction story-telling. After all, his record stands up when it comes to picking projects. You'll rarely see Cruise in a complete turkey and no other actor can claim to have worked with the roster of respected film-makers he has. In this case, I wish Cruise had supplied a receipt. He's sold us a dud.
'Oblivion' is a bit like watching your childhood friend play the latest flashy video game, only in this case he won't let you take a turn at the controls. It's director is Jospeh Kosinski, whose previous film, 'Tron: Legacy', quite literally had its lead character play a video game. Kosinski clearly knows how to make a film look impressive, but when it comes to evoking an emotional investment from his viewers, he's clueless. His latest film begins interestingly but there quickly comes a point when you begin to smell a rat. That rodent-like odor leads to an insultingly derivative plot twist. (I won't give away which recent sci-fi flick is the victim of this plagiarism but, suffice to say, a certain rockstar's son should be consulting his lawyers). Like far too many of today's wannabe auteurs, Kosinski is a perfectly capable director but a shockingly limited writer. 
3/10