When this was on at the cinema I chose to wait for Bluray because it seemed it was the type of science fiction film I`d enjoy more free from distractions at home. It`s quite tricky avoiding spoilers when YouTube and Twitter are so full of comedians that use films for their material and especially when you catch the hint that the film has a major twist that is partly spoiled in the trailer because it involves a very famous actor that marketing would insist has to appear in the trailer. I know this that it is difficult to market a film properly without spoiling the plot but the hints from the trailer were quite major.
We get some narration from Tom Cruise’s character Jack to set up this tale of a two person tech team assigned the job of maintaining the security drones that protect the enormous water mining rigs hovering over the oceans. Earth had been invaded by aliens known as scavengers and while humans have driven of the invaders the use of nuclear weapons had left the Earth a blasted wasteland so most of the human race had set up life on Titan, one of the moons of Saturn.
We don’t get to see the humans on Titan as the film focuses on Jack and Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) as Jack flies around the planet fixing drones and Victoria stays up their control centre/living quarters monitoring the him and relaying orders from their boss Sally (Melissa Leo) on the huge inverted pyramid space station that controls the drones. The drones are under attack from the scavengers who seem to be strange figures we see hanging around watching Jack as he fixes drones. When he gets fed up with his routine maintaining drones Jack has found a quiet unspoilt valley by a lake where he has built a hut and collects books and other artefacts of the world before the war such as a record turntable and a large collection of vinyl records. They have only a couple more weeks of duty left before they too leave for Titan.
The whole set-up is suspicious and Jack is curious about things he has started remembering despite having his memory wiped before the start of their mission. This why he’s picking things up and taking them back to his shack. This comes to a head when Jack rescues a woman called Julia (Olga Kurylenko) from a cryopod when a spaceship crashes to Earth. Jack recognises her from his memories and when she recovers she reveals that she knows Jack. Julia’s presence dramatically changes the cosy intimate relationship between Jack and Victoria and while Jack focuses on getting answers to questions Julia’s presence raises Victoria sees Julia purely in terms of the threat she presents to her relationship even though she expresses it in terms of the threat to their mission.
The last half of the film is when the truth gets revealed and we meet Beech (Morgan Freeman). I can`t say I was too shocked by the revelations of Julia and Beech since, as I said, the trailer had prepared me for just such a twist. It does signal a change in the film from an intimate film science fiction about two people alone on a blasted planet to an ending with your typical sci-fi action with guns, laser beams and explosions. It’s not a bad ending and is done very well even if it isn’t very original. I liked the look of the blasted Earth with New York buried under silt up to the level of the observation deck of the Empire State Building. The future tech such as the drones, the flying ship and living quarters had a pretty good consistent look about it and was in sharp contrast to the post-apocalyptic landscape. The cast is excellent which is what I expect from with actors with their experience. Tom Cruise can do this type of role easily since he always seems to really get into the characters he plays and Andrea Riseborough was really good. The other actors did their part well enough but since they appear halfway through the film during action scenes there’s isn’t too much time for depth of character. Overall it’s a solid decent science fiction story
- Rotten Tomatoes
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