Most actors popular in the science-fiction and action genres start to see their careers wane by the time they reach middle age, but for Tom Cruise things are different. At 50, Cruise is still at the top of his game with stellar performances in numerous blockbuster films. His latest movie, “Oblivion,” is no exception. Featuring an intriguing story, beautiful imagery and the usual excellent job by the long-time star, “Oblivion” indicates that Cruise’s days as a box office hero are far from over.
It is the year 2077, Earth has been rendered unlivable following a war with an alien race and humanity has relocated to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. Technician Jack Harper remains, though, along with his partner/lover Victoria Olsen. Before they can move to Titan, they must clean up what is left of the planet and repair the drones programmed to eliminate any of the remaining aliens. But Harper secretly doesn’t want to leave Earth, especially because he has recurring dreams of himself with a mystery woman in pre-war New York. To say much more would be to give away key plot twists, but eventually Harper meets the woman from his dreams, discovers that human survivors are living on Earth, and finds out that nothing (including his own identity) is what it seems.
The complexity of its plot is what really made the film interesting to watch. The surprises were not at all easy to predict, leaving viewers guessing what will happen next from beginning to end. While they do, they can enjoy the gorgeous scenery. Director Joseph Kosinski makes obliterated Earth a visual feast, to the point that it’s easy to understand how he originally intended to tell the story of “Oblivion” as a graphic novel. The electronic score performed by M83 also plays very well with the lush imagery.
Cruise is fantastic in “Oblivion,” with his engaging performance making the futuristic story all the more believable. Also very good are the lesser-known Andrea Riseborough as Olsen and Olga Kurylenko as Julia Rusakova, the woman from Harper’s dreams. It’s a shame that Morgan Freeman and Melissa Leo were not given larger parts, but they still shine as the leader of the human survivors and Harper’s boss, respectively.
Neither science-fiction fans nor Cruise fans will be disappointed with “Oblivion.” Not only is it a great film, it also shows that actors shouldn’t be judged by age.
The Setonian gives this 5 out of 5 stars.
Sean Quinn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.