In a world growing ominously more susceptible to morality-reducing resorts to expedience, The Island speaks to the very worst issue already seen on the horizon. Like all good futurist science fiction it is but a logical step into a future based more on realization of the present than blind hopes and fears we’ve yet to see any trend towards. Although much credit is owed to the screenwriters, Caspian Tredwell-Owen, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci; direction (Michael Bay,) casting and acting are, as well, superb. Sets, graphics, special effects, camera work, scene shifts, and the conduct of the storyline through these enhancing mechanisms have never been done better. We are not only riveted by the action but the suspense as well when we are treated to the ongoing personal conflicts over right and wrong and how our next character in the trail of adventure will choose between them.
While both personal madness, greed and failing moral values have conspired to create a world where, on one hand technology reigns; on the other, its use furthers sinister decline, we are given insight into our own present conflicts. And new tools with which to question them. Art reaches its highest plane at this level. At the poles of this conflict we see, Lincoln Six Echo and Jordan Two Delta (beautifully performed by Ewan McGregor and the lovely Scarlett Johansson) versus the megalomaniac Dr. Merrick, played by the always giftedly sinister Sean Bean. Corporate “fixer” and mercenary, Albert Laurent, is a role for which the casting of Dijimon Hounsou is inspired, a role in which an interesting character delineation comes about and one in which only an actor gifted with the personal complexity to make this credible is required. Hounsou does so with a flair.
Above all, The Island represents not just the mental scenario implant placed upon unwitting clones grown to full maturation for organ harvest, it IS a chilling close parallel to how we ourselves are groomed in society for roles. Roles perhaps that may one day have tasks untenable today. That it treats this fitted in so well with the action thriller, while serving to perform every requirement of good science fiction (even introducing the concept of genetic knowledge) is film production as craft as well as art.
This socially engineered “colony” of clones are remarked as “children” by the maniacal Dr. Merrick. Unawakened by sex and guided by a sense of organized purpose some begin to still question “where these tubes go” and how a flying insect can appear from a “contaminated outside”. A beautiful outcome, instead becomes the ultimate social engineer’s nightmare. Renewing, in no small way, that nature can and may overcome the evil of man dominating man. Even in the most controlled of all circumstance.
In a moment all this is drawn to a head in an emotional scene where Lincoln Six Echo’s donor sponsor is admiring the innocent beauty of Jordan Two Delta and where she is reading him with a prescience unknown to members of his corrupted society.
Intense scenes but no nudity. The one love scene is not improper. If anyone is to be unsettled by anything it best be an introspection of society and the individual’s place in it. And where it trends to be going. Do you, viewer, want it?