Tom Cruise flexes his action hero muscles in a dazzling sci-fi adventure that reels us in with its intriguingly mysterious set-up. 4/5 stars
It's 2077 and a war with invading aliens has left Earth a wasteland. With the surviving humans evacuated to a spaceship that is preparing to leave for one of Saturn's moons, lone repairman Cruise and his by-the-book navigator partner (Andrea Riseborough) have been left behind on Earth to maintain the hi-tech drones that patrol the skies.
The duo's memories have been wiped as a precaution against capture, but Cruise's character remains haunted by puzzling dreams of life before the war. Then a spacecraft containing a fellow human survivor (Olga Kurylenko) crashes to Earth, turning his world turned upside down...
Adapting his own graphic novel, director Joseph Kosinski makes the most of all his intriguing ideas and casts an enigmatic spell as the plot unfolds. Credit also goes to Claudio Miranda's eye-popping digital cinematography, French rock band M83's spacey electronic score and alluring supporting performances from Kurylenko and Riseborough (Morgan Freeman and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau pop up, too, though it's best not to know too much about their roles). But it is Cruise, as dashingly gung-ho as ever in the film's gripping action sequences, who holds it all together.
A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.
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