The Island (9/10)
by Tony Medley
This is a brilliantly devised
Sci-Fi speculation. Itís a movie that could have been chock full of plot
holes and things that made no sense, but it isnít. Itís shockingly
We meet Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan
McGregor) and Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson) as they are living in
an underground bunker, the result of some terrible ďcontaminationĒ that
has rendered the earth incapable of sustaining life. Occasionally there is
a lottery run by the people who are supervising their lives. The winner of
the lottery gets to go to ďThe Island,Ē which is the only remaining area
of the earth that is not contaminated. At the beginning of the film,
Starkweather (Michael Clarke Duncan) wins the lottery and heís ecstatic.
Lincoln is troubled by strange
dreams, so he goes to the boss, Merrick (Sean Bean) and tells him about
them. Merrick is concerned so he inserts some things into Lincolnís eyes
to do a brain scan.
Lincoln obviously likes Jordan,
but all sexual encounters are forbidden. One day Jordan wins the lottery.
Somehow, Lincoln finds his way into a prohibited area and he discovers
some shocking news. He breaks into Jordanís room and convinces her that
they must escape. All this happens in the first half hour. The rest of the
film is Jordan and Lincoln trying to get away from Merrick and everyone
connected with him, including the FBI and the LAPD.
This could have been
ridiculous. But itís not. Director, co-Producer Michael Bay expertly tells
this story in such a way that everything that happens is realistic. It
takes a subject that is on todayís headlines, cloning, and projects it to
a logical conclusion, and itís very scary.
The remaining hour and a half
is a chase film that never gets tiresome. The car chases are exceptional.
Lincoln has made a friend within the bureaucracy, McCord (Steve Buscemi,
a memorable bad guy in 1996ís ďFargoĒ), who helps them after
they get out of the bunker.
The only criticism I have of
this film relates to the special effects and scenes of Jordan and Lincoln
falling from great heights with no injuries. I donít understand how movie
makers can deal with difficult issues in fantasies and come away with
realistic portrayals, as Bay does here for the most part, but still insert
scenes of their stars falling from great heights and popping up without
even a scratch. This film is a terrific entertainment, but Bay should have
done without the falling scenes.
That said, the recreation of
Los Angeles in 2019 is realistic and believable (even if it was shot in
Detroit). Bay also used motion control to shoot the same actor playing two
different roles, not only in a two shot, but actually holding hands. When
you see it, itís remarkable. The Cadillac used in the movie is a 7 million
dollar 2002 concept car, the gull-wing CIEN. The yacht seen in the film is
even more expensive, the $25 million WallyPower, owned by an Italian named
Luca Bassini. When Jordan and Lincoln are being chased through the streets
of Los Angeles, their pursuers are riding flying motorcycles called Wasps.
Thereís more, but you have to see it to appreciate it. Suffice it to say
that the chases are realistic and exciting.
Reviewing a movie like this is
difficult because the more I write, the more I tell of the story.
Fortunately for me, most of my readers know that I donít write much about
movies I like, so I donít have to write much more, except to say how
wonderful it is to see a good, highly entertaining movie with a laudable
take on an issue that is currently controversial. Kudos to Michael Bay,
Warner Bros. and DreamWorks for making this film. Running time 127
July 24, 2005