Oblivion (2013): plot summary, meaning, explanation of the ending, similar movies.
What really happened to the heroes of the space thriller Oblivion?
Genre: fantasy, action, thriller
Year of production: 2013
Directed by: Joseph Kosinski
Actors: Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Morgan Freeman
tagline: “Earth is a memory worth fighting for”
Rejected by critics and rather coldly accepted by the audience, the picture of Joseph Kosinski nevertheless became one of the brightest representatives of space fantasy. The plot of the film “Oblivion” (Oblivion) may seem boring and secondary, but the atmosphere and the meaning inherent in the tape make you forget about the stamps. Due to the unhurried pace, this contemplative picture allows you to immerse yourself in reflections about your place in this life and answer the question: are the people we need next to us?
What is the movie about
Brief description of the content of the film “Oblivion”. Spring 2077. Communications specialist Victoria and former Marine Jack Harper live and work at the command and control station. More than 50 years ago, the Earth was attacked by alien invaders, who also destroyed the Moon before that.
Olga Kurylenko starred as Yulia, and Tom Cruise played the role of Jack Harper. Frame from the film.
Thanks to nuclear weapons, the alien invasion was stopped, but it became impossible to live on Earth any longer. Therefore, the survivors had to evacuate to Titan, the largest satellite of Saturn. Only stations that process water from the sea into thermonuclear energy remained on their native Earth. They are constantly attacked by aliens called scavengers.
Jack’s duties include repairing armed drones to guard the stations. Victoria keeps in touch with the management named Sally, who is located at another station, “Tet”. In two weeks, Jack and Victoria are expecting to be sent to Titan. In order to prevent the leakage of important information, five years ago, the mission management asked the staff to go through memory cleaning.
This is the meaning of the film’s title. Oblivion means oblivion.
Despite the erased memory, Harper constantly dreams of New York and a pretty unfamiliar girl.
One day, Jack receives a message about two downed drones. Going to repair them, he finds a book of poems by Thomas Macaulay “Songs of Ancient Rome”. Suddenly he is attacked, but thanks to the drone he is saved.
Meanwhile, Victoria picks up a strange signal. The encoded coordinates in it point to the 17th square. Having gone to the source of the signal, Harper turns off the found transmitter. Then he leaves Victoria’s observation and goes to the lake, to a small house that belonged to him, to have a little rest in peace and quiet.
Suddenly, Jack spots a NASA ship that is crashing. Quickly determining that the car was built before the war, he follows the crash site. Destination – square 17. There the main character discovers cryocapsules with people. To his surprise, one of them contains a girl who looks like a stranger from recurring dreams.
The role of Victoria was played by Andrea Riseborough. Frame from the film.
Here, inopportunely, the drones that reacted to the invasion arrive and destroy almost all the survivors – Harper covers the girl with herself. The new friend’s name is Julia. She thanks Jack for his help and suddenly calls him by his first name. Harper takes her to the station with him and introduces her to Victoria. There, Yulia asks for help: she needs to return to the crash site of the ship and pick up the flight recorder, which is called the Odyssey.
Victoria, hesitant to act without instructions from Sally, hesitates, but Jack easily agrees. Returning to the scene of the accident, they find a flight recorder and are immediately captured by scavengers. Before losing consciousness, Jack manages to send his aircraft to the station.
The group of scavengers is led by a man named Malcolm Beach. He tells Jack that he and Victoria have been lied to all along: the scavengers are human survivors of the invasion, Titan is uninhabited, and all this time he and a colleague have been working for the aliens. Beach’s group managed to capture one of the drones, which they plan to mine and send to Tet. They need Jack’s help, but he doesn’t trust Beach and refuses to work together. In response, Beach lets them both go and advises them to fly to the restricted area – a place that is characterized by a deadly level of radiation.
Julia decides to go with him. Together they reach the ruins of the Empire State Building. From there, Harper sends a signal to Victoria, who has sent a flying machine after them. While waiting for his arrival, the characters talk, and Jack suddenly realizes that Julia is his wife. Victoria is watching their explanations through a special camera.
When the couple return to the observation station, a jealous Victoria refuses to let them in, then informs Sally that Harper broke the rules. After that, a suddenly activated drone attacks them. Victoria dies, and Jack is saved by Julia.
Morgan Freeman as Malcolm Beach and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Sykes. Frame from the film.
The couple decide to leave the station, but they are again attacked by drones. Having miraculously landed in the restricted area, Harper is surprised to see his own double with the Technician-52 chevron. The hero disables the equipment, but he and Yulia are attacked again, and the woman receives a gunshot wound.
Jack hurries to Observation Station 52, which is a replica of his home station. There he meets Victoria’s doppelgänger. Mistaking the real Harper for a clone, she allows him to take the medical device. Returning to his wife, Jack heals her wound, after which they go to rest in the lake house.
Toward the end of Oblivion, Jack and Julia return to Malcolm Beach’s crew. He again stuns Harper with an unexpected message: it turns out that the aliens who invaded many years ago were like two drops of water similar to him. At this point, they are attacked again. During the shootout, Malcolm is seriously injured. Jack, suddenly realizing everything, volunteers to personally send a booby-trapped drone to Tet. Julia volunteers to fly with him.
During the flight, Harper manages to listen to the recording of the Odyssey’s voice recorder. Thanks to this, he remembers the past. It turns out that she and Victoria were the pilots of the Odyssey, and Sally was in charge of missions in the mission control center. The ship was originally intended to explore Titan, but was then sent to explore Tet. Approaching him, the ship experienced attraction. The living compartments disconnected by Jack from the command module fell into near-Earth orbit. Sally was not human at all – the alien mind simply generated her audiovisual image. Harper informs management of his arrival on Theth and lets his ship inside.
Oblivion Ending explanation
Explanation of the ending of the film “Oblivion”. On Teta, which is a tetrahedron, Jack sees a huge number of cells with clones. Having landed the ship next to the large pyramid, which is the “brain” of Theta, Jack opens the cryocapsule he brought with him.
It contains a dying Malcolm Beach, who shows a desire to die with Harper. Meanwhile, Julia is transported to the lake house. Jack quotes a passage from a found book dedicated to the feat of Publius Horace Cocles, and Julia, along with the rebels, watches the explosion of Tet. Having ceased to receive commands from there, the drones operating on Earth are switched off.
Three years pass. At the end of the film, Julia, who during this time lived with her little daughter in a house by the lake, sees the rebels approaching her house. Among them is her husband, Jack-52.
To understand the meaning of the Oblivion movie ending, you need to mentally return to Tet and remember the huge number (several thousand) of clones created. The answer to the ending is simple: absolutely everyone was a clone – the real Jack died a long time ago, before the invasion. However, a particle of Harper remained in each of the clones. This was especially true of the first clone, whose feelings and memories were very close to the original. In the end, he did what the real Jack would have done – died saving what was dear to him. At the same time, he left a part of himself in the second clone, mentally similar to him.
Frame from the film.
The meaning of the film Oblivion
In their analysis, many viewers note that Oblivion can be classified as a film about the fight against the System. There is indeed a hidden meaning in Joseph Kosinski’s painting.
The protagonist of Oblivion, Jack Harper, is trying to remember what happened on Earth. In the picture presented by him, the general spatial structure has a special meaning. It covers three spheres – heaven, earth and air. In the sky is the main command center, Tet. Scavengers live on the ground, and drones control the air. The observation station where Jack and Victoria live is also up in the air. In the film, it is referred to several times as Paradise.
In the course of the story, Jack finds a book in the library with a bookmark and a stanza cleaned of dirt. It can be assumed that it was from that moment that a bold idea arose in his head: you can break the rules. Jack is really ready to break the rules, but not just like that, and in the name of something. Or someone.
Frame from the film.
At a certain moment, Julia appears on the scene. According to the conservative interpretation of supporters of various conspiracy theories, her image is an allusion to the devil, who manipulates Eve, forcing her to taste the fruit from the tree of knowledge. Because after that, Jack, who until then obediently followed all the rules, suddenly goes against the rules, rebels – and he is expelled from “paradise”. From now on, he is not a celestial, but a man and his paradise – the Earth.
Following his wife, the protagonist of the film “Oblivion” encounters scavengers, who explain to him that Tet is the main evil that destroyed people and pumped out earthly resources. So the usual archetypes get the opposite meaning, and values collapse.
The image of the main antagonist seems interesting. Tet is shaped like an inverted tetrahedron. Some viewers are sure that it symbolizes the System (many even saw in it a Masonic symbol, a sign of the “shadow government”). Others see artificial intelligence in the inverted tetrahedron, which has enslaved humanity and denies the divine principle. But there is another interpretation.
One of the central characters in Oblivion, Malcolm Beach, reports that Tet destroyed the moon. This satellite symbolizes reflective knowledge and the feminine. It can be assumed that Tet is the God that the creators of Oblivion showed as an evil usurper, although this is not so. To understand this, it is worth remembering the history of mankind and the various “tools” created to suppress dissent. No, Tet is not God. This is the usual earthly power, utterly exceeding its authority.
Frame from the film.
Oblivion also brings up another topic. The essence of the film lies also in the incorrectness of the division of mind and nature into two eternally opposing camps. According to the creators of the picture, the result of this is always self-destruction: either obscuration by sensuality (rebellion and the fall) or strict discipline and eternal self-restraint (absence of life, existence in the form of a robot obediently following all the rules). The world is dual: sin and holiness, life and death, past and future, light and darkness – all this is in a single plane. Failure to accept this leads to struggle and self-destruction. As long as there is a struggle inside, there is also outside. Acceptance of oneself and the world leads to harmony, to the absence of struggle. Harmony is balance.
In one of the key mise en scenes, Victoria says that Jack broke the rules. He committed an offense. Moreover, it is a crime. But who made the rules? This is a very important question. Therefore, to call the rules into question is an extremely natural and necessary thing for development. Without this doubt, true faith as a psychological act is impossible. And without faith, freedom is also impossible, because knowledge can personify both power and slavery. Faith is the result of doubt, just as courage is the result of fear.
At the very beginning of the film, we are shown the symbolic “Adam and Eve” who live in paradise. However, in the course of the story, Heaven turns out to be not real, and paradise is false.
The message “the rules must be observed” is relevant only in a totalitarian and authoritarian society. In a fair society, information is in the public domain so that a person can check everything himself and agree with certain rules. Only then will he understand why this or that rule must be observed. However, in the film, no one was going to explain anything … Bottom line: following the rules, Victoria went into oblivion. Jack broke the rules and got it. Memories. Love. Freedom. Himself.
Frame from the film.
Here are a few films similar in meaning to Oblivion:
- “Moon 2112” (UK, USA, 2009). Sam spent three years on the moon. Looking forward to returning home, he meets a replacement.
- “Edge of Tomorrow” (USA, Canada, 2014). Major William Cage, leading the defense against the attacking alien invaders, is killed in action and is caught in a time loop.
- “Island” (USA, 2005). Lincoln lives in a special, heavily guarded and controlled space. He longs to get to the Island – the only eco-friendly oasis, but not everything is so simple.