Joseph Kosinski is simultaneously the most intriguing and frustrating director in Hollywood.
The Tron: Legacy director is a stunning visuals craftsman, but his stories seem to lack the completeness that comes with true artistry. These traits are on display in his latest outing: Oblivion, a sort of mashup of all of your favorite '70s and '80s sci-fi movies.
It's the sort of thing Tarantino does constantly: take a genre, pick five or six films he loves from said genre, and then put them in a blender. With Tarantino, the parts are blended to the point where they meld together into something homogeneous and distinctly Tarantino.
With Oblivion, unfortunately, our movie-smoothie is a little…chunky.
What is, on its surface, a wonderful idea—the last two people on Earth fight off aliens and close up shop—becomes bogged down by a threadbare screenplay that all too often directly tells us what it should show and minor characters that weave in and out of the plot without as much as a whiff of their significance.
All is not hopeless, however. Cruise is excellent as Earth's final everyman; the pulsating score by electronic band M83 is gorgeously textural in the way that all of the best '80s sci-fi scores wanted to be; and the cinematography by Oscar-winner Claudio Miranda is as lush as it is minimal.
Oblivion is a difficult film to recommend wholeheartedly, but it's certainly worth watching.
Regal Stadium 14