OBLIVION (2013, Joseph Kosinski): 5/10
Sort of a dull downer, takes forever to get going and doesn’t really pay off its labored character development. When the twists start coming in the back half, things do get theoretically interesting, especially as we question the reliability of our narrator (not out of his willful deception, more in that he’s a victim). But things are left sort of thin as Kosinski is far more concerned with his visual detail — which has its pluses, but isn’t enough to make up for the emotional hole, not to mention clunky exposition in the screenplay.
Andrea Riseborough gives the standout performance, but her character is sold short. Cruise has done much better, for this is an extremely rare case of him almost phoning it in. Strange, given that he’s the only person on screen for a large portion of the running time. For a guy who has made a career of working with the best directors in the business, it’s no surprise his weakest efforts are with the few who just aren’t that good (Mangold, Redford, and Kosinski). And now with Liman and Ritchie on the horizon, I can’t say the future is too bright for the once-unimpeachable movie star.