Oblivion has many markings of greatness: homages to 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and other sci-fi classics serve as reminders of the film it strives to be. And while it doesn’t truly reach those heights, it’s a superb science fiction epic that has a strong, complex narrative with themes that resonate far more than they should. Tom Cruise’s lead performance is seemingly effortless yet emotionally layered, showcasing that he is a talented actor when given proper source material. Yet what’s most impressive about Oblivion is not that it maintains a strong pace or holds an impressive score or that its cinematography is glorious, but that it shows Kosinski’s growth as a director from Tron: Legacy, a visually stunning misfire. Here he’s grounded the film with enough astounding visuals and a competent narrative that it feels epic and almost touches greatness. It’s ambitious, and that can’t be said about many films I’ve seen lately.
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