Anne talks film: Oblivion

Oblivion-poster-tom-cruiseWhen you glance over the ingredients of this film; Tom Cruise – check, Sci-fi setting – check, Millions spent on Special Effects – check; you could easily be guilty of typecasting it as another Tom-Cruise-Saves-the-World popcorn flick. You’d pigeon hole it, maybe deciding to watch it at home later in the year when it comes out because it’s not worth the bother of going to the cinema. Or, you may decide to see something else, something less predictable, something more likely to surprise you. But, shock horror, in this movie’s case – you’d be wrong. Because Oblivion is more than the sum of those parts – and here is why.
The movie starts off well enough with the cinematography smacking you out of your seat (Tom & friends have made great use of Icelandic landscapes). Production values are typically high, what you’d expect from a Tom Cruise flick, and you’ll not help but feel like you’ve seen it before – it’s that familiar. Think of a four way movie lovechild between Prometheus, Tron Legacy, I Am Legend with a dash of The Phantom Menace thrown in. You’ll also swear you’ve seen Tom himself in a similar role – it’s kind of Minority Report (ish) with him playing the futuristic gunslinger with a torn psyche intent on memories gone by. His is a troubled character, haunted by memories he couldn’t possibly have and living with a woman called Victoria (played really well by Andrea Riseborough) who doesn’t share his visions or questioning mentality. Though I’m sure many of us have been there!
I won’t go into too much detail here – as I genuinely think you should see it yourself – suffice to say that Tom & Victoria’s day-to-day existence is set out in detail and more characters are introduced including a slightly unnerving Sally (Melissa Leo), Sergeant Sykes (Nikolaj Coster-Waldrau) and Beech who typically Morgan-Freeman-esque steels the screen every single time he is on it. To be honest, mid-way through the movie the story goes a little flat, especially when it’s only Tom and Julia (Olga Kurylenko) in a scene, of which their are quite a few. In my mind, I felt that Tom doesn’t get alot back from Olga – she seems to have only one expression – and as viewers we are treated to the opposite when it is Tom & Victoria – so comparisons are easy to make.

Happily, things pick up soon enough in a type of The Matrix way. There’s more action with Tom, much-much-much more storyline to get your teeth into and an ending that is not what you’d expect at all. Quite poignant in fact, considering we’re dealing with the subject of planetary death.
So, does Tom get to save the world and live happily ever after with the girl? Well, no. And, yes. It is a Tom Cruise film after all. If you want more than that, you’ll have to go see for yourself. I did and throughly enjoyed it. Tom does a convincing job of being the guy who looks like he COULD save the world, he’s got a solid supporting cast and God he looks great for 50+, the b*stard. All in all it’s certainly easy watching and definitely good use of your cinema time. Expect more than you’d normally expect!
ps – this is James standing in for Anne La Barbera this week. She’s back in action very soon so stay tuned!


Our resident film critic Anne LaBarbera was born in Austin, Texas. A joint US / Italian national her varied film career spans writing, directing, producing, wardrobe and (even) running for the BBC – she’s nearly done it all! When not at home in Hollywood, Anne likes to travel and feature her classic VW Scirocco in the movies, mostly her own. Catch more of Anne’s adventures here on Extrafriends or her own website


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