Destined to live up to its title

Film review: Oblivion

John Campbell

I don’t think I saw this under the best circumstances. Having spent an entire day in real time travelling home from Colombo, I found myself sitting in the dark and, for at least the third time, foolishly thinking that Tom Cruise’s mission to save humanity was nearing its triumphant climax.

I didn’t have the foggiest idea what was going on but, oddly enough, I was not at all surprised to find Tom replicated at one point near the first false ending – I can’t put my finger on why, but there was a ghastly inevitability about it. For most reasonable people, one Cruise in a rubber jumpsuit with a tommy-gun under his arm would suffice, so there being two of him on the nuked tundra of 2077 was enough to make a man remember even more nostalgically the thieving, squabbling monkeys of Sri Lanka.

Jack is a troubleshooter for the firm that represents the survivors of the apocalyptic war that has ruined Earth and sent its remaining humans off to Kurt Vonnegut’s Titan. All that’s left behind are giant weightless machines that extract the energy from the oceans that is needed to support those Titan-bound refugees. The Scabs are feral creatures with fab leather headgear whose aim is to destroy them, hence the presence of Tom, his cute partner at the mountaintop outpost (Andrea Riseborough) and a flotilla of drones.

Tom has recurring flashback to a pre-war event before his lifetime, in which he meets a gorgeous girl (Olga Kurylenko) at the top of the Empire State Building, and further confusion is caused when she turns up in a glass-top sarcophagus and, after a cleansing vomit, declares that she’s his wife. If that is not enough to throw you, it turns out that the Scabs can’t really be scabs because they are led by the venerable and always good Morgan Freeman. And then there’s the copy of A Tale of Two Cities in the idyllic rustic cottage to subtly (not) give away one of the Toms’ Sidney Carton sacrifice. Awful.

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