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‘Oblivion’ Review: Kosinski’s Sci-Fi Spectacle Leaves Questions, Confusion

Oblivion may leave a lot of viewers confused, but one thing’s for sure about director Joseph Kosinski’s (TRON: Legacy) newest sci-fi film: Tom Cruise is stellar.

A sci-fi thriller should leave questions unanswered and up for speculation, that just comes with the genre; but if you’re questioning the plot for half of the film, the experience becomes frustrating rather than entertaining. It’s no secret that the visuals in Oblivion are breathtaking and Cruise’s performance noteworthy, but the screenplay is a little too confusing for its own good.

It’s the year 2077, Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is a security repairman stationed with his partner Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) on evacuated Earth. Jack and Victoria are part of a mission to extract important resources from Earth, after the war with an alien species, who still scavenges what’s left of the planet. Although the humans won the war, Earth is uninhabitable with most of it being wiped away after decades of fighting.

Jack’s memory was wiped clean before the mission, but he still manages to have the same dreams about a mysterious woman (Olga Kurylenko). The mission is clear: Jack and Victoria must acquire what they can while on Earth, then return “home” to the mother spaceship, but Jack can’t help wonder if Earth can be saved.

You may not like his beliefs or his politics, but Tom Cruise proves he’s one of the best actors working today as our lead star in Oblivion. There’s just something about the 50-year-old actor that exudes action star. I may not have understood what was happening in Oblivion, but I had good time watching Cruise’s character trying to figure it out himself.

Olga Kurylenko (To The Wonder) also gives an amazing performance as the mysterious woman, who gradually gains a bigger role as the story and twists unfold. She and Cruise have fantastic chemistry that adds the emotional layer to the story that is so vital. Kurylenko has a lovely on-screen presence and I look forward to her upcoming films.

Director and screenwriter Joseph Kosinski has an eye for striking visuals and a clear vision of what he is attempting to accomplish in this sci-fi flick, if only his story just made a bit more sense. Again, its one that is up for debate and questioning, but the twists get the better of this original thriller.

Maybe I’m giving Oblivion less credit than it deserves, as it definitely gains a second and third viewing, but I can’t help the disappointment and confusion I experienced mid-way through the film hurt the overall picture. TRON: Legacy definitely grew on me and now I have to say it’s one of my favorite movies, maybe the same thing will happen for Oblivion…once I own the Blu-ray.

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