Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Dir: Joseph Kosinski.

Warning! This post contains spoilers. I went to see this tonight, with some of my friends, and although it was very predictable, on the whole I enjoyed it. Tom Cruise turns in yet another trademark performance, and is enjoyable without being all that impressive. (Generally I find Tom Cruise's films to be entertaining). I've been seeing clips and concept art for this film for what seems like a long time, and it was satisfying to see the finished product but it wasn't quite the experience I had been hoping for, at least not the story I was expecting from the first time I'd read about it.

The movie has its own internal logic, which of course it violates a few times here and there. Such is the way of modern cinema alas where good solid story telling has been replaced by spectacle and effects are not grounded in reality but the effects possibilities offered by computers. The latter is clearly evident in the vehicle design especially in the aircraft Cruise flies about in. This thing is capable of all kinds of acrobatics and yet neither Cruise nor his passengers suffer any of the effects of motion sickness, disorientation or black outs that follow from rapid G forces. The aircraft also moves with great rapidity and acceleration, again without any visible signs of effecting the humans aboard. More annoying still is the design which looks far too weak to withstand the structural stresses imposed by the manoeuvres the aircraft is subjected too.

With regard to the internal logic of the movie I spotted one glaring inconsistency. Over the course of the first half of the film, Cruise's character, Jack Harper, is described by his scepticism and internal conflict. It is this inner struggle which allows him to question the world around him, and eventually learn the truth against which he will automatically fight, but when Morgan Freeman's character, resistance leader Malcolm Beech, describes the alien attack on Earth, he tells Harper that when the alien drop ships landed, they disgorged thousands upon thousands of Jack Harper clones. How is it possible that none of these clones questioned the world they saw, or the fact they were in an army of clones? This doesn't make sense to me, and the 'memory wipe' justification offered to explain why Jack Harper doesn't understand his role in the world, doesn't work either because Jack's memory wipe didn't erase his dreams of Julia, nor did it prevent him from quickly understanding who he was when he eventually met both his own clone and Vikas.

Kosinski hasn't impressed me as a story teller yet, but his cinema du look approach is appealing enough whilst I'm waiting for 'Elysium'.

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