Review: The Island (2005)

Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson's hopes to reach the Island are quashed after revelations about their identity make them question just who they are in

‘What are we?’ asks Scarlett Johansson as Jordan Two Delta in 2005’s The Island. Her journey, alongside Ewan McGregor’s Lincoln Six Echo’s, forms the basis of the film.

Living in the tranquil surroundings of a compound safe from the intruding toxic landscape of Earth the two are part of a small community who all hope to win an internal lottery that will take them to the one uninfected place on earth; the Island. Of course they’re all being hood-winked by the company baddie Dr. Merrick (Sean Bean) represents and lottery winners are instead harvested in order for their ‘owners’ in the real world when they find that they are in need of an organ or two.

As you would expect from a Michael Bay film, The Island is packed with explosions and big-budget sets that offer an impressive backdrop onto which the ensuing fight for survival takes place. A multitude of people chase Lincoln and Jordan who in turn find that they are fighting for their right to live. The resulting car chases and near-misses all nod at Michael Bay’s affinity with his craft.

The realisation that the Island is an unobtainable utopia is poignant whilst Lincoln and Jordan’s reactions to the outside world are both amusing and fascinating; having difficulty understanding the concept that not only are they much younger than they once believed but they are also clones of their wealthy owners, Jordan and Lincoln must come to terms with her owner’s contrasting life.

The film itself is reminiscent of the 1976 classic utopia vs. dystopia film Logan’s Run whilst The Island‘s landscape is very much in tune with films such as Minority Report and I, Robot where pristine monotonal greys and whites are contrasted with the grimy remains of what we are to assume is our current world.

Somewhat over-looked, The Island is undeservingly lowly received having bombed in American cinemas. Although it lacks the the originality similar films achieve it is well made and thought provoking.

Best performance: Steve Buscemi as McCord.
Best line: ‘Just because people wanna eat the burger doesn’t mean they wanna meet the cow’.
Watch this if you liked: Logan’s Run, Minority Report.

The hobbies and life of Lincoln’s owner, Tom Lincoln, are based loosely on that of Ewan McGregor’s.

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