Film Review: Oblivion


Science fiction blockbuster Oblivion is flawed, but entertaining nevertheless. Fans of the genre are likely to spot allusions to earlier films.

Following a war that ravaged the Earth, drone repair operative Jack is one of the few remaining humans on the planet. The rest of the surviving humans have made a new home elsewhere. With two weeks left before he joins them, an incident occurs which makes Jack question everything he believes…

Joseph Kosinski’s Oblivion circles around some interesting topics, although it never outright asks and answers the questions. Instead, the film is a sci-fi blockbuster which offers action, mystery and suspense, but lacks substantial depth. This is not catastrophic, although those looking for a film to really tackle philosophical aspects may be unsatisfied with Oblivion. The film works well in the sense that it successfully entertains viewers, even if does not leave them pondering.

The narrative of Oblivion is brimming with twists. Viewers may well be reminded of a number of other sci-fi films, but to make reference to them here may drop some spoilers.  The twists in the film are acceptable enough. However, it can seem like the film attempts to shoehorn too many ideas into its plot. Furthermore, when scrutinising the chain of events and the motivations of certain characters, holes do appear.

The production design of Oblivion is great. The film’s futuristic setting is identified in subtle rather than outlandish ways. Special effects are also seamless. The score also owes a debt to a few other film scores. Notwithstanding, it is highly effective at times. Casting for Oblivion is spot on, with Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko and Andrea Riseborough all delivering decent performances.

Oblivion has the look and feel of a sci-fi blockbuster. Kosinski’s film teeters on approaching some fascinating themes, but falters in its approach. In terms of entertainment however, Oblivion does the trick.