This is a stark film, constructed of harsh sweeping vistas of the devastated Earth and the clean lines and muted tones of Jack and Victoria’s living space. Many of the scenes of the film are told with only three characters- Jack, Victoria, and Sally (Melissa Leo), their liaison with the Tet. This tight focus allows acting and character to really shine and these three core actors deliver wonderful performances. There are of course other characters in the film (including appearances by Morgan Freeman and Olga Kurylenko) and their performances, if not as top notch as the core three, are still quite good.
This film exists in the vein of classic sci-fi. The plot twists in (relatively) unexpected ways and the film explores some interesting questions. The main question posed by the film is that of self-hood. Who is Jack? He has a self, a life, and a home as a drone technician, but within him are the memories of another life. Can he ever know who he actually is, and should he want to? Also explored (although more briefly) are the nature of history, and the nature of god.
I am not a Tom Cruise fan personally and therefore I was ready to dislike this movie because of him. Instead I enjoyed it immensely. Cruise’s style of acting is perfectly suited to the character of Jack Harper and the best parts of the film are the raw character scenes between him and Victoria. Ultimately this is a great film and I would recommend it to anyone who likes sci-fi. Even if you don’t normally like Tom Cruise, you’ll like this movie.