• Film

The Island


Time Out says

Sometime in the future, the amnesiac survivors of an apocalyptic event called ‘the Contamination’ wake up in a Kubrickian lifestyle complex where they live under microscopic surveillance. The residents (inmates?) of this sprawling glass-and-stone pavilion bide their highly regimented time until the day they’re selected by lottery for ‘the Island’, hyped as a pathogen-free paradise. Lincoln Six-Echo (Ewan McGregor), however, is troubled by a nasty recurring nightmare, a strobe-speed image barrage that evokes Joel-Peter Witkin directing an Evian ad – though Aquafina has apparently monopolised the local water supply, while Lincoln’s sock drawer is a Puma commercial. Indeed, once Lincoln and Jordan Two-Delta (Scarlett Johansson) discover (spoiler alert!) their home is actually a clone-harvesting facility and make their escape to LA, one of the few threads of continuity between the two worlds – aside from Steve Buscemi, who valiantly delivers the film’s exegesis – is the ubiquity of product placement. In a break for a word from our sponsors, Johansson’s Jordan peers in bewilderment at Johansson’s Calvin Klein promo, and somewhere Jean Baudrillard swoons in semiotic ecstasy. ‘I wish there was more… than just waiting to go to the island,’ Lincoln laments, and this being a Michael Bay movie, the more eventually takes form as explosions, car chases and more explosions, foreshadowed by Pavlovian revving guitars and hovering choppers. There’s also our Scarlett flaunting flaxen extensions and fembot curves, a nifty scene involving synaptic-scan bugs that one-ups ‘Minority Report’ for ocular heebie-jeebies, and did we mention Steve Buscemi? All is secondary in the end to a benumbing assault of grinding metal and blasting megatonnage, but I’m under the impression that lots of people like that sort of thing.

Release Details

  • Release date:Friday 12 August 2005
  • Duration:136 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Michael Bay
  • Screenwriter:Caspian Tredwell-Owen, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci
  • Cast:
    • Ewan McGregor
    • Scarlett Johansson
    • Steve Buscemi
    • Michael Clarke Duncan
    • Djimon Hounsou
    • Sean Bean
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