Originally Posted by par4
Great looking film........ yes. It fell just four or five sentences of dialog short of being a truly meaningful film because the audience (uh, that would be us), was not allowed to derive any type of relationship with the main characters. Obviously, a "talky" this movie was never going to be. But without establishing some reason(s) to like, dislike or just ascertain some reason to care, one way or the other, what fate befalls the protagonists and or antagonists allows the movie to meander at exactly the point in time when we, the audience, should really be on the edge of our seat in anticipation of how the film resolves the question of future existence for all the interested parties. To those who were enthralled with the film for many of the reasons stated above, that's understandable. The look of the film and the acting performances were all solid. The story line.... well, that's a different kettle of fish.
Of course the film did not at all strike me that way, but then I am not one to count on dialog to impart much meaning -- it can, I'm sure, but so so not necessary. As to the relationships, this is really part of the central mystery, is it not? As events unfold, we begin to wonder how solid our acting assumptions might be. I found the nuanced portrayals and subtle unfurling of a progressively fuller comprehension of what is going on here, extremely well managed, beguiling, and involving. As we wonder who the Olga character might actually be in relationship to Cruise, it certainly does not take much for me to well imagine, implant myself into, a love relationship with her -- her looks, manner, the mood music, and flashing barely recaptured personal history, all do that for me -- truth be told, given a certain actress, looks alone might allow me to cast myself into well-imagined deep involvement -- easily. In that context, almost anything she says might stand to rupture the illusion -- like continuing to blather on after a deal is sealed, further chatter may only operate to jeopardize the contract.
At this point in cinematic history, we all have seen a good deal of film. The language, iconography, pacing, editing, music, et al, all operate, even subliminally, to shape clear impressions of what is unfolding. It is familiar, it is mostly instantly comprehensible shorthand into which we empathically begin to synch up to the rhythms of the film, if it is well made. Dialog does not do this for me much. With dialog, I find I can be mightily impressed with how smartly written a thing is -- that will make me respect the writing surely, but its not the thing that generally appreciably deepens my emotional attachment to the characters. So when you suggest that a movie would need to be a talky to establish why we care, I can't say that resonates with me *at all*.
I don't know, I think Cruise may have this problem to much greater extent than other actors -- his outsized star persona and identity can be insurmountable baggage for some viewers -- hard to see him as anything but a rich actor with suspect cult involvement, and perhaps that disrupts/derails our empathic immersion, but certainly when sensitive Olga enters the scene, I'm there -- maybe the less she says, the better that all is -- even her character seems to know this is true, as she tries to calculate what she should venture given what mysteriously seems to have happened to her Captain. So she is not an effusive chatterbox by design.
But we obviously had two opposite reactions to the presentation here -- you seem to have respected certain elements, the undeniable AV appeal, and what I was getting to in my previous post was that however short you thought this fell of being a great film, it is still one of the best things offered up this year, and if not, what was better? Just saw OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN and BULLET TO THE HEAD. Were those any kind of competition for OBLIVION? Nowhere close. How about recent past weeks? EVIL DEAD? -- better than OBLIVION? What this year?
I obviously felt it succeeded on all counts, but let's just say the story scores absolute zero -- in my view, that might strike down about five percent of a film's worth, given EVERYTHING else that can be appraised. On every other count, we have a film here that is head and shoulders above anything else in recent past that comes to mind. What competes with it? I note you did not offer anything you were more impressed by...