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The Island

The film takes us to the year 2050 with this notion that a few years ago some sort of contamination destroyed most forms of life on Earth. Of course some people survived. They were rescued and live in a contained city. These people live in a futuristic, climate controlled complex that shields the inhabitants from ‘the contamination’. The several thousand residents all live regulated lives.

Their only hope is to win the lottery and receive a free ride to The Island. According to the compound’s officials, there is only one island that was not affected by the contamination. Every evening, a lottery is held, with the winner earning the right to live on the island. Besides performing various mundane jobs and entertaining themselves at night with virtual sports and frequenting stylish futuristic bars, the residents spend their time dreaming about being chosen by the daily “lotteries” to go to The Island.

Comes Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor), who after he awakes from a violent nightmare, is summoned to the doc’s office to see what the problem is. He meets with Merrick (Sean Bean), the facility’s doctor, who asks him about the dreams. It is at this point the Lincoln begins to question everything about the facility.

Lincoln frequently comes up with excuses to visit McCord (Steve Buscemi), a computer guy who seems to enjoy his visits from Lincoln. McCord finds Lincoln rather childlike in his questions about the outside world. One day when Lincoln decides to explore - maybe a little more than he should - he discovers a terrible secret about the only world he knows.

He makes a terrible discovery that everything about his existence is a lie. He and the rest of the inmates, including his best friend Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johannsson) are clones who have been bred as replacement tissue to keep their donors alive and healthy. When Jordan is picked to go to the Island, Lincoln grabs her and runs. Lincoln does whatever he can to save her from the truth he has discovered. The two then become fugitives and escape the home they have known and are thrown into a world they didn’t think existed.

Knowing these two have escaped and knowing what it could mean for the future of the facility, Dr. Merrick enlists the help of an expert to track these two down and bring them back, no matter what the cost is! Albert Laurent (Djimon Hounsou) gathers his team and begins to hunt the fugitives.

Jordan and Lincoln eventually run into McCord, who reluctantly takes them in and explains that they are clones of real people. Most of these people are suffering from some type of illness and, knowing they will eventually need a liver or a retina, they had clones made for spare parts. McCord helps them as much as he can. The rest is up to Lincoln and Jordan, who decide to set out to find their sponsors. They figure if they tell the sponsors the truth, the sponsors will help them bring the facility down. The one thing they have yet to learn about human nature is that man will do anything in his power to survive.

All the while, they are relentlessly pursued by Dr. Merrick’s armed force - who bring the action in. With the forces of the institute (that once housed them) relentlessly hunting them down, Lincoln and Jordan engage in a desperate race for their lives.

To say the technical aspects of the film are flawless is unnecessary and goes unsaid in a Bay picture. The effects are perfect; the car chases are some of the best we’ve ever seen. Ewan McGregor and the stunning Scarlett Johansson play the leads and do a good job of running, screaming, jumping, punching, and looking confused. That is what their roles require and they do it well.

Steve Buscemi gets to do some nice character work in what little screen time he has, and Djimon Hounsou, who gained some notability in Gladiator and In America, provides some strength to the film as an ex-marine who is hired by the corp. to hunt down Lincoln and Jordan before they bring attention to what the facility is really doing. While the character of Albert Laurent isn’t near being three-dimensional, Hounsou gives a satisfactory performance.

Sean Bean adds another villainious role to his list, as the doctor behind the project who has already looked inside himself for the choice between humanity or money, and made his decision. It’s a role Bean’s played well before, and he does so again.

There were many scenes that are heart rendering and which will make people think intensely about the movie.

One of the great scenes occurs when McCord tries to explain to the confused leads who escaped, that they’re not real people. “You’re clones,” he says to them. When they look increasingly confused he tries to clarify, stammering: “You’re not like me…You’re not real people. You’re copies of real people.” But that doesn’t quite seem to work either. So he finishes off with a bang, “You don’t have souls.”

In another heart-wrenching sequence the new-born baby of a cloned mother is snatched from her mother’s arms and then placed into the arms of an ecstatic adoptive mother and father. The true mother is then killed because she was nothing more than a ‘carrier’ and she has served her purpose.

In yet another shot a hulking, muscular man, who we later find out is the clone of a professional football player, escapes from the operating room just as they are beginning to harvest his heart. As he is brought to his knees by security he bellows out from through his tears: “I want to live! I want to live!” He doesn’t live, however, because he is only a ‘product’ and not a person. Just as our current clones, we are assured, are ‘embryos’, not persons.

Pretty intense and disturbing too!

Overall, The Island is a fine movie to watch with some good action sequences, great visuals and set designs. The Island is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexuality and language. The only flaw is the ending that has nothing more than a foregone conclusion, and the length at which it is dragged out tests the patience of the audience.


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