"Oblivion" - Themes of Tom Cruise's underrated science fiction gem

31 May 2023
"Oblivion," directed by Joseph Kosinski and starring Tom Cruise, is a visually stunning science fiction film that captivates audiences with its breathtaking cinematography and thought-provoking themes. 

The movie is set in a post-apocalyptic Earth, presenting a world scarred by war with an alien race. The visual aesthetics of the film are remarkable, with sweeping landscapes showcasing the desolation and decay of once-thriving cities. The meticulously designed futuristic technology, such as the sleek and powerful drones, adds to the immersive experience, transporting viewers to a hauntingly beautiful yet eerie world.

At its core, "Oblivion" combines elements of mystery, romance, and existentialism, intertwining them seamlessly throughout the narrative. The film establishes a sense of mystery early on, as Jack Harper (played by Tom Cruise) and his partner Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) go about their daily duties, maintaining and repairing the drones that protect Earth's remaining resources. 

However, as Jack's memories and perception of reality begin to unravel, the movie dives into a complex web of intrigue, raising questions about the nature of identity and memory. The audience is compelled to question what is real and what is fabricated, mirroring Jack's own journey of self-discovery.

Existentialism is a prominent theme in "Oblivion," as Jack confronts the nature of his own existence and grapples with the purpose of his actions. As he uncovers the truth behind the war and his role in it, the film prompts viewers to contemplate their own lives and the choices they make. It delves into the fundamental questions of human purpose, urging audiences to reflect on the meaning and impact of their own actions. 

The movie underscores the ethical boundaries of scientific advancements and the potential consequences of unchecked technological development. It highlights the need for balance and responsibility in harnessing the power of innovation, reminding viewers of the potential pitfalls that can arise when humanity becomes disconnected from the consequences of its own actions.

oblivion film poster cruise

The key themes of Oblivion

Identity and Memory

"Oblivion" intricately explores the theme of identity and memory. The story follows Jack Harper, a technician assigned to repair drones on Earth after a devastating war with an alien race. As Jack's memories are called into question and his perception of reality begins to unravel, the film raises profound questions about the nature of identity, memory, and the essence of being human. 

Through Jack's journey of self-discovery, the audience is compelled to contemplate the significance of memories in shaping one's identity and the impact of questioning one's own reality.

Post-Apocalyptic Desolation

"Oblivion" presents a hauntingly beautiful portrayal of a post-apocalyptic Earth. The desolate landscapes, abandoned cities, and crumbling remnants of a once-thriving civilization create a palpable sense of isolation and loneliness. This theme not only serves as a backdrop for the story but also acts as a metaphor for the fragility of human existence. 

It reminds us of the potential consequences of our actions, urging viewers to reflect on the importance of preserving our planet and the potential repercussions of failing to do so.

Olga Kurylenko  Julia oblivion
Olga Kurylenko as Julia

Love and Connection in Oblivion

Within the desolate backdrop, "Oblivion" explores the theme of love and connection. Jack's relationship with Victoria (played by Andrea Riseborough), his partner and lover, undergoes significant challenges as they begin to question their purpose and the truth surrounding their mission. 

The film examines the power of love and the strength it can provide in the face of adversity. It explores how human connection can bring solace and purpose even in the bleakest of circumstances, resonating with audiences on an emotional level.

Technology and Progress

"Oblivion" raises thought-provoking questions about the implications of advanced technology and the pursuit of progress. The film portrays a future where technological advancements have both benefitted and harmed humanity. It explores the ethical boundaries of scientific advancements, emphasizing the potential consequences when technology is left unchecked. 

Through the character of Jack, who finds himself questioning the purpose and morality of his own actions, the movie prompts viewers to reflect on the balance between technological development and its impact on humanity.

Existentialism and Purpose theme of Oblivion

As the story unfolds, "Oblivion" delves into themes of existentialism and the search for purpose. Jack's journey becomes an exploration of his own existence and the significance of his actions. The film asks profound questions about the nature of human purpose, challenging viewers to ponder their own lives and the choices they make. By examining the existential dilemmas faced by the characters, "Oblivion" invites audiences to contemplate the meaning of their own existence and the choices that shape their lives.

Conclusion as to the themes of Oblivion

"Oblivion" is a visually stunning and intellectually engaging film that masterfully weaves together various themes, resulting in a captivating cinematic experience. Through its exploration of identity, memory, post-apocalyptic desolation, love and connection, technology, and existentialism, the movie prompts viewers to reflect on profound philosophical questions while immersing them in a visually breathtaking world. Tom Cruise delivers a compelling performance, further elevating the film's impact.

Joseph Kosinski would go on to make Top Gun: Maverick with Cruise.  


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

At The Astromech, you can expect to find a variety of articles, reviews, and analysis related to science fiction, including books, movies, TV, and games.
From exploring the latest news and theories to discussing the classics, I aim to provide entertaining and informative content for all fans of the genre.

Whether you are a die-hard Star Trek fan or simply curious about the world of science fiction, The Astromech has something for everyone. So, sit back, relax, and join me on this journey through the stars!
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