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The Island

Suspenseful Futuristic Tale Thrills

From the very beginning of The Island, you know something isn't quite right. It could be how all the residents of a mysterious outpost, survivors of a global environmental meltdown that has left every other place on earth uninhabitable, dress in similar fashion to a cult, identically in white athletic wear. Or it could be how the place is run like an exceedingly monitored utopian summer camp for gifted and talented children even though everyone is well above the legal age. Maybe it's the questions the protagonist Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor) keeps incessantly asking. Whatever it is, you're hooked, and want to uncover the mystery.

Contributing to the air of 1984-esque weirdness, is "the island" itself. Portrayed as the last uncontaminated place on the planet, it is a locale to which lucky winners, chosen by a seemingly random lottery, are whisked. The Island invokes images of early retirement, colorful cocktails and cabana boys, and all the residents want to live the dream. Of course, Lincoln Six Echo has questions about this so-called "island". When his best friend Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson) gets picked, his already curious nature goes into overdrive.

While The Island can be predictable at times, it has great suspense overall. There is a cloak of creepiness and secrecy that envelops the film, which is slowly unveiled during the first half. Not all the questions raised are suitably answered -- for example, why Lincoln Six Echo is so different from all the other residents -- but you get so caught up in the action that by the time these points are recalled, the movie is already over. This isn't an ethical exploration on scientific methods but a big budget Hollywood action flick.

McGregor and Johansson both do a good job as do the movie's villains, Sean Bean as Merrick, the doctor who runs the outpost, and Djimon Hounsou as Albert Laurent, the mercenary whom he hires. The actor who steals the movie though is Steve Buscemi as Lincoln Six Echo's unlikely buddy McCord. He is responsible for all of the wittiest lines, and delivers the best definition of God I've heard to date.

The Island contains elements of several movies including The Matrix but is essentially original. It is wonderfully entertaining and you will not be bored.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars