Oblivion was not at the top of my list of movies to see when its trailer premiered some months ago. Even as trailers and footage began to trickle in as the film’s released loomed closer, I remained steadfast in my decision to not see the movie. Well, I cracked, and I’m glad I did. Oblivion is not only visually stunning(in usual Kosinski fashion), but it also manages to be emotionally resonant and even powerful at some points.
It’s 2077, half a century after aliens nearly decimated Earth, and Jack Harper(Tom Cruise) and his companion, Victoria(Andrea Riseborough) are stationed on the now deserted planet to clean up. Their commander, Sally, promises them only two more weeks are left before they can join the other people on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. But when Jack comes across pods filled with sleeping humans, he begins to question who he is and why he is still on Earth. Things are complicated even further when one of the survivors turns out to be a person from Jack’s past(Olga Kurylenko). As everything unravels and Sally’s true intentions are revealed, Jack must team up with resistance leader Malcolm Beech(Morgan Freeman) to set things right.
Tom Cruise delivers a superb performance here, which surprised me because I don’t normally consider Tom Cruise a good actor. He’s a great action hero, but usually his acting is uninspired and dull. His performance here is noticeably different, and by the end of the movie I came to actually care for his character. Crazy notion, right? Same goes for Morgan Freeman. He does a great job during his limited screen time, but that really comes as no surprise. He’s Morgan Freeman, Hollywood’s favorite scene-stealer. Those two are the standouts, with Olga Kurylenko and Andrea Riseborough providing passable supporting roles. Oh, and Jaimie Lannister stops in from Game of Thrones to kick some ass too.
Even more striking than the visuals is the movie’s emotional depth. When you chisel away at its beautiful, glistening surface, you actually find another layer underneath. It’s a thin one, but that’s really all you can ask for in a film like this.
That being said, I would have liked the filmmakers to go deeper. They introduce some cool ideas, but don’t take them far enough. There’s a scene near the end that actually packs a punch, but its impact is softened because it wasn’t touched on enough throughout the film.
From its depth to its characters, Oblivion is a pleasant surprise. I didn’t expect to be so invested in Tom Cruise(still can’t believe I’m saying that) and I definitely was not expecting a mildly satisfying pay-off at the end. If you are craving some above average sci-fi entertainment, go to your local box office and give Tom Cruise your money. It’s worth it.