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Blockbuster action director Michael Bay delivers a striking look at a strange world of the future in this sci-fi action drama. Midway through the 21st century, Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor) lives in a confined indoor community after ongoing abuse of the Earth has rendered most of the planet uninhabitable. One of the only places in the outside world still capable of sustaining life is an idyllic island where citizens are chosen to live through a lottery. Or at least that's what Lincoln and his fellow citizens are taught to believe; the truth is that Lincoln, like everyone he knows, is actually a clone who is kept under wraps to provide needed organs when the person who supplied his or her DNA falls ill. When he becomes aware that his existence is a fraud, Lincoln escapes to the outside world with a fellow clone, Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson), though the powers that be are determined to see that no one gets away alive. The Island also stars Steve Buscemi, Djimon Hounsou, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Sean Bean.
- The Future in Action
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Lincoln Six-Echo develops an unhealthy curiosity in the outside. On a fateful excursion through a service tunnel, he discovers the residents are "product", living tissue banks paid for by wealthy clients of a bio-tech corporation. He and Jordan Two-Delta make a break for the outside, just ahead of ruthless armed mercenaries sent by the head of the corporation (Sean Bean in full-on doctor with a god-complex mode).
The long, breathless escape sequence at the core of the movie is filled with exciting stunts and astonishing special effects. The struggle of Lincoln Six-Echo and Jordan Two-Delta to adapt to an unfamiliar world is the source of some humor and a touching bonding experience. Their escape will, however, lead them to tough choices.
"The Island" gets off to a slow start before going into stunt overdrive. This reviewer wishes two superb actors had spent less time running and been given more time to explore. "The Island" is highly recommended as an interesting, exciting and entertaining sci-fi movie experience.
The movie is about slowly deconstructing that fantasy, that almost utopian future and revealing some of the ugly truth inherent in the human condition. The humans depicted in this future are so obsessed with youth and living forever, that they have deliberately turned a blind eye to what is happening to other human beings in their society. There is a powerful scene in the movie where a pregnant woman is supposed ot go to the island, but of course that is not going to happen. She gives birth and immediately after is given an injection and killed. The business woman has her baby in arm and watches the woman die, before delivering the baby to the parents that ordered it. The new mother that holds the baby is the genetic original of the clone that was just killed. The business woman then closes the deal by offering to bring them the "termination papers" of their "insurance policy".
The storyline about how the two protagonists uncover the truth is fascinating and just the whole premise of this movie is very smart and thought provoking - because in a way it is not a very too far future from ours.
However, while this movie started strongly, it ended on a rather slow note. Of course not literally - which is precisely what the problem with this movie is. I feel as if there is almost a clear division in this movie and that it can be divided into two parts. The first part entices us quite intelligently into this fascinating future and there is a lot of potential that is set up here. But the second part, which goes into overdrive, ends up being a lot of bang bang, super action, one long car chase scene with crashes and explosions. There is a pause and then the quality of the film emerges again. But as soon as the car chase scenes a la Michael Bay begin, everything goes downhill. I really wish they had continued on that strong beginning instead of allowing it to fizzle into mediocrity. The ending was pretty good though and connected the beginning with it.
Despite the one short coming I think this movie is quite underrated in the message it attempts to convey and the quality with respect to *how* it was done. The actors truly inhabit the roles they are portraying, and so they are believable. The chemistry between McGreggor and Johansson is great and I thought the cinematography and soundtrack were amazing, truly conveying the mood of the movie about a future not too far from ours.
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