In Birdman, or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Michael Keaton gives a performance that simultaneously works as a selling vehicle for the late short-story author Raymond Carver and conveys a certain surrealism against a backdrop of seedy reality. The film, directed as well as co-written by Alejandro González Iñárritu (21 Grams, Babel) tells the story of Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) who turned his back on a lucrative career in a film franchise about a feathered superhero. The underlying theme in the film deals with Riggan’s self obsession and his mental state is shown by the Birdman character talking to the actor when they are alone.
With my busy schedule lately, I’ve been going through “new film” withdrawal. Fortuitously Playstation Store had Oblivion as an early release for the price of £14.99 (about $23). Despite my reservations, my desperation to see any new film made me purchase the film. Result? Surprisingly good and worth the exorbitant price of purchase. *Does it annoy anyone else that Playstation “early releases” are only for sale and not for rent? Answers on a postcard please.”
The film is directed by Joseph Kosinski (who has a credit for co-wrting the screenplay along with Karl Gajdusek and Michael Arndt, he also directed Tron: Legacy). It stars Tom Cruise (insert prior film titles here), the gravitas actor himself Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace, Hitman), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones, The Hunters, and the one actor who should play agent Leon in any live action film of the Resident Evil game series) and Andrea Riseborough (Welcome to the Punch, Brighton Rock).
The plot revolves around a future earth that has been destroyed and decimated by an alien race. Jack Hawkins (Cruise) and his partner Victoria (Riseborough) have two weeks left on the now inhospitable planet as a team assigned to protect the energy producing fusion generators that power Titan where the human survivors who fled Earth are living.
Earth won the conflict with the aliens after the moon was destroyed by using nuclear warheads and survivors who didn’t migrate to Titan are scavenging the equipment that Jack must protect.
As Jack and Victoria near the end of their mission and the scavenger attacks increase, he sees an object fall from the sky and when he tracks it to the crash site, he discovers something that changes his perception of the world and his place in it.
I enjoyed the film. As I said, it is surprisingly good. I have never been a huge Tom Cruise fan despite the fact that he’s always turned in excellent performances. I think it has to do with his rather bizarre behaviour “off screen.” Cruise doesn’t disappoint in this film and I was amazed at his physical condition. Something has to be said for having the money to maintain biceps that large.
The film offers a brilliant cinematic experience and the characters all seem disturbingly real, despite the “Moon” device used and the somewhat “contrived” ending. I found myself unable to stop watching the film and wound up not taking any breaks. I was so caught up in the storyline that I didn’t want to pause it.
I will say that I did guess the plot twist fairly early on, but that was a combination of watching the trailer too many times and the fact that most sic-fi films all lean towards the same direction recently. In spite of the fact that I’d guessed the twist, I still enjoyed the film.
I have to give the film a 4.5 out of 5 stars. It loses half a star because I did guess the twist and its reliance on another film for another plot twist, so half a star off for lack of originality. It is still a cracking good film and worth a watch.
So Oblivion was surprisingly good and I’m not upset that I had to buy the film versus just rent it. Although I do miss my special features and will most likely get a blue ray copy just for those. On my trip to South Africa (which I will keep posting about) I saw quite a few films that I need to review. The plane journey back was sleepless for the duration of the almost 11 hour flight, so I got to fit quite a few films in. These will be cropping up from time to time in the form of reviews.
7 August 2013
- New on DVD: ‘Oblivion’ (chrisbarsanti.net)
- Oblivion (comicsworthreading.com)
- Oblivion Film Review (fromfrontrow.com)
- Movie Review: Oblivion (2013) (ddmboss.wordpress.com)
- Oblivion (2013) (moodyclappers.com)
- ‘Oblivion’ Scavenges for Ideas (Short Ends and Leader) (popmatters.com)
- Most Overrated Film Of The Year- Oblivion 2013 (liamdoesfilm.wordpress.com)
- Visual Effects Supervisors Eric Barba and Bjoern Mayer Talk OBLIVION Blu-ray, Working with Joseph Kosinski, Their Favorite Effects, and More (collider.com)