Oblivion is a 2013 American post-apocalyptic science fiction film based on Joseph Kosinski’s Radical Comics-edited unpublished graphic novel of the same name. The film was co-written, produced and directed by Kosinski. It stars Tom Cruise and Olga Kurylenko. The film was released in the U.S. on April 19, 2013. According to Kosinski, Oblivion pays homage to science fiction films of the 1970s.
The film received mixed reviews. The acting, visual effects and originality was praised, while critiques of the story were mixed. The film underperformed at the American box office, grossing only $89 million, but performed well overseas. It is Cruise’s twentieth film to gross more than $200 million worldwide.
In 2077, the Earth has been ravaged from war sixty years prior with the extraterrestrial Scavengers (Scavs); the war destroyed the Moon, causing earthquakes and tsunamis, while humanity used nuclear weapons to achieve a costly victory. Humanity is now relocating to Saturn’s moon Titan via the “Tet”, a large tetrahedron-shaped space station used as a launching point. On Earth, Tech 49 Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) and his partner and lover Victoria “Vika” Olsen (Andrea Riseborough) are two of the last few humans on Earth. Stationed at Tower 49 in what used to be northeastern United States, they are instructed by mission controller Sally (Melissa Leo) to protect from Scav attacks the gigantic offshore fusion energy generators that provide power to those on Titan, using a combination of drones and Jack’s reconnaissance via his ship. Though both had memory wipes five years prior, Jack experiences visions of being on the observation deck of the Empire State Building well before the war and images of a mysterious woman. While not on patrol, Jack spends time secretly at a small lakehouse he has built.
Jack picks up on a Scav beacon signal that gives coordinates on Earth, while a pre-invasion spacecraft, the Odyssey, falls to Earth at those coordinates. Jack finds several working stasis chambers in the wreckage, including one containing Julia (Olga Kurylenko), the woman from his visions, as well as a flight recorder. As Jack revives Julia and is surprised that she knows his name, the Scavs attack and capture the pair, secure the recorder, and take them to their base at Raven Rock Mountain Complex. The Scavs turn out to be human survivors, led by Malcolm Beech (Morgan Freeman). Beech implores Jack to help them by destroying the Tet using a number of unstable fuel cells, telling Jack that everything he knows is a lie. Jack refuses to believe this; Beech lets them go, but tells Jack that he will discover the truth if he travels to one of the radiation zones that Sally has forbidden him from entering.
En route back to Tower 49, Jack and Julia stop at the remains of the Empire State Building, where Julia reveals this was where Jack proposed marriage to her. They continue to the Tower, but Vika, who has been monitoring their movements, refuses entry and reports to Sally that they are not a functional team anymore. Sally sends a drone to kill Vika, while Jack and Julia flee followed by a number of drones. They damage Jack’s ship, forcing it to crash in the forbidden zone, which lacks any of the radioactivity they were warned about. They encounter Tech 52 Jack, an exact clone of Jack, and the two Jacks fight, while Julia is wounded by a wild bullet. Tech 52 Jack falters when he sees Julia, experiencing the same visions Tech 49 Jack had, and is bested by his clone. Tech 49 Jack races to nearby Tower 52, finding a clone of Vika there. He poses as her Jack long enough to obtain medical supplies to heal Julia.
The two return to the Scavs, where Jack is prepared to hear the truth from Beech. He explains that the Tet is really the hostile alien force that is scavenging the Earth for resources using the drones, using clones of Jack and Vika to monitor and protect the drones. The humans have a captured drone, intending to use it to attack the Tet. Drones attempt to attack the base, and Jack helps to defend it. Beech is gravely injured in the attack and the captured drone is destroyed. The humans also fear another attack is imminent. With Julia’s agreement, Jack communicates with the Tet via Sally, agreeing to bring her Julia. Placing her in a stasis chamber, Jack leaves for the Tet and listens to the Odyssey‘s flight recorder: Prior to the war, Jack, Julia, and Vika were members of the Odyssey, a NASA ship that was sent to probe the sudden appearance of the Tet in the solar system, under guidance of mission controller Sally. Initially appearing friendly, the Tet started to drag the Odyssey to it, and Jack detached the stasis quarters, where Julia still slept, from the command module, so only he and Vika were captured. Beech had been watching Tech 49 Jack for some time, having sensed him to be different from the other clones, and triggered the fall of the Odyssey to Earth so as to complete his plan of destroying the Tet.
Aboard the Tet, Jack is taken to the central intelligence, where he opens the chamber and reveals the dying Beech and the fuel cell bomb. Beech and Jack trigger the bomb, destroying themselves and the Tet, and nullifying a new wave of drones shortly before they could reach the human base. On Earth, Julia wakes up from the stasis chamber at Jack’s lakehouse. Some years later, Julia is raising her daughter at the lake house when a group of human survivors arrive along with Tech 52 Jack, who reveals that he now has the same latent memories of Julia, and the two reunite to start their own family.
Learn more about the concepts, principles and symbolism behind the subliminals found in this film: