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The Island (2005 - PG13)
"The Island" explores the controversial topic of cloning in a futuristic film where humans are being genetically cloned for specific body parts so as to add to the lifeline of their human 'sponsor'. But what happens after the part is extracted; what then becomes of the clones?
Written by: Caspian Tredwell and Alex Kurtzman.
Directed by: Michael Bay.
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Drama, Thriller.
Tagline: After all, it's not like they're human.
Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence action, some language, and some sexuality.
Set in the near future, 2019, the film commences inside a high-tech lock-down facility wherein a particular man, Lincoln Six Echo (McGregor) is repeatedly having disturbing dreams that foretell his death on his way to 'the island'. He awakens to put on his uniform; a white Puma jersey and knickers with matching white and black Puma sneakers, and joins the rest of the 'chosen' to proceed with their daily task of pumping vitamins into mysterious tubes. The rest of their day is equally as boring, reading their elementary level books and adhering to the restricted diet forced upon each individual.
As it goes, every person in the facility is a survivor of the deadly 'contamination' which obliterated the entire existence of organic life in the external world. So as to continue proliferating the human race the facility keeps their members in continual lock-down, watching every biological component of each member so as to keep them in perfect shape for their possible selection to go to 'the island'. Apparently, despite the contamination having intoxicated the vast majority of the planet, there exists an untainted island which is safe enough to relocate the facility's members upon their being selected in the 'lottery'. Tonight is yet another chance for the coveted lottery and while all of Lincoln Six Echo's friends await the outcome, Lincoln six echo ventures to the exterior perimeters, sector 5, where he converses with chief mechanic McCord (Buscemi). Apparently inquiring minds want to know a lot more than they are supposed to and McCord warns Lincoln Six Echo of the danger of his incessant questioning.
Meanwhile a friendship develops between Lincoln Six Echo and Jordan Two Delta (Johansson), but never so much as a touch is allowed. But when Jordan Two Delta is selected as the winner for that night's lottery raffle, Lincoln Six Echo begins to feel emotions that apparently, he is not supposed to feel. As Lincoln Six Echo confides to Dr. Merrick (Bean), head director of the facility, of his strange dreams with visions he's never seen before, Dr. Merrick begins to look a bit disturbed and instills several microchips to take a brain scan in hopes it will provide some clue as to the whereabouts of the 'unlived' memories.
Meanwhile a curious Lincoln Six Echo discovers a butterfly and begins to do the unthinkable, question the validity of his mundane surroundings. Human curiosity, as it turns out, will be the very thing that undermines Merrick's project. A curious Lincoln Six Echo ventures into restricted regions where he witnesses one of the latest lottery winners being executed after she gives birth. Immediately following, he witnesses the next lottery winner running from an operating table with his chest pried open, and realized he too is to be killed off rather than shipped to 'the island'.
Understanding the 'the island' to be just a myth, Lincoln Six Echo begins to comprehend the unthinkable; he is not a human, but rather a clone, one of thousands, who is being harvested for parts so as to lengthen the lifeline of their genetically identical sponsors. With his best friend being prepared for her unsuspected death, Lincoln Six Echo barges into her room and together the two escape the compound. But Merrick has multiple billions of dollars which he stands to lose if his 'agnates' unveil the truth behind his highly unethical business of harvesting identically sentient and conscious beings for parts, whereby immediately thereafter they are simply euthanized.
While on the run the two will have to escape the formidable Albert Laurent (Hounsou) and his defense team. Meanwhile Lincoln six echo and Jordan two Delta go in search of their sponsors, Tom Lincoln (McGregor) and Sarah Jordan (Johannson). Upon discovering that Sarah Jordan is dying in a hospital, the two agnates go in search of Tom Lincoln in hopes that he will have pity on the predicament of the two clones. But Tom Lincoln is a multi-billion dollar selfish man with a desire to live longer, whatever cost. But though clones, the two learn fast and just as soon as Tom Lincoln sets up Lincoln six echo's death, the latter places his incarcerating wrist band on Tom Lincoln's arm and Albert and his paratroopers murder him on the spot.
Meanwhile Lincoln Six Echo heads back to the apartment to confide in Jordan Two Delta about his plan to shut down the facility and save the lives of the thousands of imprisoned clones. Adding to the intensity of the situation is the discovery of a sex-drive not initially imprinted upon the two clones during their manufacturing process. From friends to lovers the two head back to the facility to confront Merrick and save their friends. But will they, mere clones, be able to undo what the masterminds of their superior human race have already started? Moreover, what are the psychological repercussions of integrating the clones into society to be?
"The Island" is an intense film dealing with some rather highly controversial material in an altogether realistic and palatable portrayal. Though the film does smack of a futuristic vision of the world, still, it is realistic enough, and intriguing in its vision. Moreover the action sequences are tastefully done and believable in their though intense, not over the top portrayal. Ewan McGregor and Scarlet Johansson are compelling in their portrayal of the 'coming of age' clones who take comfort in the friendship and love of one another, and both manage to look exquisitely attractive in the process. "The Island" is a fast-paced, intense, highly enjoyable film that is both realistic and compelling. Moreover the content is extremely controversial and the tangible reality of its possibility is perhaps the most compelling part of the film. To imagine such a horror happening seems impossible and yet not altogether unbelievable and not too far off. "The Island" is enjoyable from start to finish and hints at more that may meet the critical eye at first glance.
Ewan McGregor plays Lincoln Six Echo/Tom Lincoln, the first conscious agnate to display the threatening aspect of human curiosity.
Scarlett Johansson plays Jordan Two Delta/Sarah Jordan, Lincoln Six Echo's best friend and latest lottery pick to go to 'the island'.
Djimon Hounsou plays Albert Laurent, the highly intimidating head hunter hired to dispose of the rebellious agnates.
Sean Bean plays Merrick, head founder and director of the cloning facility.
Steve Buscemi plays McCord, Lincoln Six Echo's only hope to understanding the outside world.