Scarlett Johansson. Sci-fi / Thriller.
Synopsis: Two inhabitants of a futuristic, contained utopia
uncover a deadly plot and attempt to escape their destiny.
Review: Quite possibly the best science fiction movie I’ve
seen in the last 3 years.
Lincoln 6 Echo (McGregor) and Jordan 2 Delta (Johansson) are acquaintances
in a world a decade and a half away. They live in a clean,
homogenous environment in which everyone has stylish white track
suits and Puma sneakers.
It would be almost impossible to list the science fiction influences
evident, but there are significant glimpses of The Matrix, 1984,
The Running Man, Logan’s Run and They Live .
Lincoln awakes one morning. A thin, horizontal, stock ticker-like
monitor in his bedroom notifies him that erratic REM sleep patterns
were detected, and that he should report to the wellness center.
As he relieves himself, another such monitor in his bathroom
reads “excess sodium levels detected,” and that his
nutritional plan has been altered accordingly.
In queue for breakfast, his options are fruit, oatmeal or bran.
“No bacon?” he jokes.
Our first indication that this can’t be quite such a physically
perfect society is that the food server isn’t in the pristine
physical condition that the white, track suit-clad diners are.
Lincoln proceeds to work, where he injects nutritional liquids into
tubes that run along the table at his workstation. He doesn’t
know why he does this, or where the tubes lead.
Jordan works nearby in the lab, and both look forward to the daily
announcements of which residents have won the lottery and are permitted
to travel to ‘the island,’ the last pathogen-free zone
on the planet.
Lincoln has a techie friend named McCord (Steve Buscemi) who shows
him some of the darker recesses of their world. McCord isn’t
a member of the track suit elite, but he does share his liquor with
Lincoln, a commodity apparently not readily available in this society.
Jordan’s name is drawn in the lottery one evening, and she’ll
be leaving for the island the next morning. But that night,
Lincoln ventures into a restricted area only to uncover that the
previous day’s lottery winner was taken not to the island,
but to a hidden operating room in which his organs were to be harvested.
Lincoln puts two and two together rather quickly for someone whose
entire existence and reality has been a lie. He gathers Jordan,
and the two begin an unlikely escape.
Now the film moves from a sterilized utopia in which everything
seems extremely calculated to the ‘alternate’ reality,
which is, for most people, the actual reality. An America
that doesn’t seem like much of a departure from the one in
which we find ourselves today. There are seedy bars, streetlights,
a structured class system, ice cream vendors, sporting events, credit
cards, advertising - all the things that make our American existence
In a remarkably lucky turn of events, Lincoln and Jordan find McCord,
who doesn’t want to reveal the truth about their situation,
but does so anyway: “You’re copies of people living
out here in the real world. You are spare parts.”
Lincoln and Jordan decide to track down their makers (literally
- the people who purchased them as insurance policies) in the hope
that once they are confronted with the reality of what is going
on, they will help ‘free’ all the clones at Merrick
Of course, Lincoln and Jordan don’t take into consideration
that anyone who would buy a clone in order to have an endless supply
of soft skin or a replacement liver might not necessarily be concerned
with the welfare of an exact DNA replication that they never intended
A lot of philosophical issues are in play here, and I’m not
certain if all of them are intentional.
There are hints of anti-capitalist arguments that surface in the
first half of the film - Marx’s argument that workers in a
capitalistic system don’t own the means of production and
are disconnected from the product of their work. Therefore,
they don’t work for the satisfaction of the creation of a
good or service, but rather to be compensated. That is clearly
the case here: Lincoln and Jordan don’t know why they are
filling these tubes with nutritional liquids, or where the tubes
lead. Later they find that the tubes are used to nurture other
clones. So, horrifically, they are much more associated with the
product of their work than Marx could ever have feared - they are,
in effect, the product.
The obvious clone debate is dead center. People are able to purchase
a clone as an insurance policy and the general public seems to be
unaware of this practice.
There is also a very interesting legal twist I hadn’t previously
considered - If your clone gets out into the general population
and commits a crime, you will most likely be arrested and charged
with the crime. After all, you and your clone share the exact
This is an excellent film. The casting and direction work well.
There is a welcome mix of action, sci-fi intrigue and general
empathy for Lincoln and Jordan.
For director Michael Bay, he has successfully created a film (unlike
his previous efforts - Bad Boys, The Rock, Pearl Harbor ) in which
the plot can’t be described in fewer than ten words.