© Warner Bros. Pictures. and DreamWork Pictures. All rights reserved. Illustrative stuff and official dialogue sample are property of Warner Bros. and DreamWork Pictures.
In theatres in Germany on 4th August; Switzerland on 4st August D-CH, on 17th August F-CH and on 26th August I_CH and Italy
review by dalia di giacomo____
THE NEXT GENERATION OF SCIENCE: THE AGNATES
Why is my insurance policy sitting in my fuckin' sofa?
Imagine a future not so far from us. 2019. Not so far because already today there are deep ethical and moral questions around cloning and bioengineering in general. I must say that i am very supportive concerning all scientific horizons and all scientific techniques, whose only ethic "brake" should be the common good sense, the good taste and the progress for mankind. But...I imagine too. Since the years when i was engaged in my biochemical studies, i am imagining a free, propulsive science, no longer slave of politics, war or money. And without hypocrite ethic discussions that, far from preserving and stopping the dangerous sides of some researches , only repress, imo, a sane self conscious development of all scientific sectors. But the mere crude reality is that a big part of science is manipulated and surely not in order to make us a favour. This movie lets us reflect about how the newest knowledge in genetics and molecular biology could be used just for profit (actually not a new topic, just think of The 6th Day with Schwarzenegger/Adam Gibson). Imagine now that biotechnology and bioengineering reach such a progress that it is possible not only to clone human beings, but to have them grown up and in full adult shape prodigiously quickly. OK, now imagine a company (like "our" Merrick Biotech) that offers the best insurance in the world: to prolong life exploiting in top secret the new biotechnologies, but taking care of an ethical polite appearance where the clones are not fully mentioned, preferring to publicly speak about a vague amorphous vegetative states of tissues (accordingly to the Eugenic Law of year 2015). Ok, now imagine that you are rich and famous and that you can afford to sign a policy with this company in order to receive spare parts and organs for your body when you need them: spare parts that are 100% compatible with you, being an exact genetic copy of your original organs and tissues. Eh yes! Live as crappy as you want to live, be as epicurean and irresponsible as you want, f*ck cholesterol ! : no problem! cause you have back your same exact liver, your heart, your bones and whatever (oops, brain too?). If you are rich enough to spend a conspicuous amount of money, your clone will have the most controlled balanced, hygienic life of all, he will be your health copy and will die for you, but not as conscious donor, on the contrary knowing nothing about all this dirty commerce. When the time comes your clone will win a beloved lottery: he will go the The Island, he is chosen, leaving the clone community and disappearing for ever among the general wishes and envy. Everyone gets to win in the clones' facility. The Island is the fantastic last uncontaminated corner on earth. The biggest prize is to go there. But simply The Island doesn't exist. This is the alarming vision of Michael Bay's movie. Obviously the anti-cloning moral soaks the whole film too much. But The Island delivers more than one interesting starting points like the capacity to wonder, to go beyond the manipulated veil of appearance with all related danger. Unfortunately the conclusion "stop playing god" is too predictable, but the plot is enjoyable. This movie has moments of naivety and errors (some of which are scientific ones), many questions are left open, but much is solid and credible also. The Island could have been projected better, but, after all, it is a movie worth to be watched. Many dialogues are memorable, the whole escape in the facility and in the real world is well done and adventurous, with chase- scenes on the Freeway that are superb; finally the explosions are very limited giving place to spectacular incidents that are massive and technically amazing, most of them without balls of fire. The film has a fast rhythm and the photography is most of time (unfortunately not always) excellent. The sense of horror when a clone is sacrificed is real and remains attached to your skin, in spite of some ridiculous stress in the surgery rooms. Interesting is to see how the 2 protagonists Lincoln Six- Echo and Jordan Two - Delta will win against the impossible, against the sinister Merrick (Sean Bean), and interesting is to see who are those who will help them with final "surprise" (if we can say so). The many places of the film are all optimally chosen, included the city of Detroit that must "play" Los Angeles. Director Michael Bay finds that the city of Detroit reminds so much to Los Angeles and could give the impression of a futuristic town whose architecture provide much aesthetics. McGregor and Johansson's acting is nothing fantastic, but, at least, they interpret well the role of these unaware agnates so terribly pure and naive, but as intelligent as their makers and with the same will to live. On the contrary, Steve Buscemi's acting is overwhelming. The worker and Lincoln Six-Echo's only true friend McCord is perfectly interpreted.
"our" clones live? Under what organization? Accordingly to this movie, they cannot walk free in the normal
society....They are the "agnates", completely isolated (another way to interpret the meaning of The Island?) in a facility, they believe to be the only
survivors of a worldwide contamination, they believe to be the only society on earth.
In reality they are placed in a underground facility in the middle of
the American desert of California/Nevada. No one must know their presence, they must not know the truth and must not escape.
Enclosed by a digital matrix that gives the illusion to live in towers surrounded
by a natural environment, and considering themselves very lucky as survivors
, they live in a modern, sterile, white, ordered, controlled, artificial ambience where
everything is decided by someone else. They have the same maturity as
young teenies, and are not aware of sexual desire; they are not aware of
anything of the world if not few permitted things and few pre-installed unreal memories.
Happy and passive, they live controlled by supervisors in black. Every reaction,
every problem is detected and reported. But Lincoln Six-Echo (McGregor, the
young Obi- Wan Kenobi of Star Wars prequel) is different, the Echo
generation is different. Lincoln Six-Echo begins to have strange recalls,
memories that should not belong to him. He begins to wonder who he is, where he lives,
why things are so, why he must wear white suits for example...he is curious and in a way frightened.
Now the question: can our memories be stored in our chromosomes?
Can some of our memories be transmitted to an eventual
clone of ours? And now the touch of romance: Six-Echo feels also an attraction for the pretty,
lovely Jordan Two-Delta (Scarlett Johansson). A mysterious boat called Renovatio is
one of his incomprehensible nightmare. His behavior begins to alert the controls.
One simple thing, the presence of a flying bug that shouldn't
exist, makes him definitely decide to discover more of the facility and, in a shocking way, he will face the
truth: the lottery destination is no Island, is the death, the horror,
the end.. From this point on, fear and escape begin, for him and for
Jordan Two-Delta that Six-Echo wants to save and protect at any cost. Interesting is the impact with the true world, scary is to know
from McCord, after they have left the silos, that they are clones created in order to
"produce" organs for their makers. Lively is the meeting between
Six Echo and his "owner" Tom Lincoln.... Same DNA but different temperament,
probably due to the different ambience and education. It might be. After all science
tells us that genetics influences us 50 %, the rest is work of the environment where we live: together they build our
personality. Useless to say, Six- Echo and Two - Delta must run and fight hard for their
lives, but they will be successful and, all in all, we end up as
fans of the two agnates, who quickly learn how to be full individuals
with their own mind .
Like mentioned before, though i am pro- cloning, i don't think that the use of
clones done in this way can be realistic even in a far future. I must
agree that the path of the adult stem-cell research can eventually give more satisfaction being the only reasonable way for a clinic effective use as
well (even better than embryonic stem- cells). Why to prepare,
imprint, feed, educate and control a clone, when a bunch of cells of your body,
opportunely harvested and cultivated, can regenerate a tissue healthy (transdifferentiation)?
(ah yes ...the profit) . And if yes, if this vision of spare parts clones will become reality one day, would
you care to know more? And if yes, would you allow that clones are
killed to let their makers live? What about your clone, if you
could have one? Well, maybe yes, we would allow to sacrifice them all ,
cause the truth is that no one really wants to die. cause usually we eat
a burger without thinking of the cow, as the movie suggests Just
cause you wanna eat the burger, doesn't mean you wanna meet the cow)
dalia di giacomo
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