Directed by: Joseph Kosinski
Written by: Joseph Kosinski, Karl Gajdusek and Michael Arndt (screenplay), Joseph Kosinski and Arvid Nelson (comic book)
Starring: Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough and Morgan Freeman
Machines are typically a main enemy in science fiction narratives, often stand-ins for the mechanical processes of fascism or bureaucracy . This is true both in front of and behind the camera in Joseph Kosinski’s Oblivion, a dull, overdone futuristic movie that tries amicably to be more than the Tom Cruise vehicle it ultimately is. It is so bogged down by needless special effects excess that its fine polish glosses over any semblance of life.
Set in 2077, Oblivion at first follows Jack (Cruise) and Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), two engineers who repair drones that guard resource mining operations on what’s left of Earth. Of course the drones turn out to be evil, and Jack is forced to choose between helping those he once helped destroy (a pack of human survivors led by Morgan Freeman) or stay the course. It isn’t really much of a choice, and neither the script nor the camera captures any rebellious spirit or sense of urgency. There are a some well done firefights and amusing exchanges between Cruise and Freeman, but Kosinksi sacrifices all major opportunities for political commentary to indulge in them.