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The UnPopular Opinion: Oblivion

Jun. 4, 2014by: Alex Maidy

THE UNPOPULAR OPINION is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATHED. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Enjoy!

****SOME SPOILERS ENSUE****

There is something about Tom Cruise that just works well with science fiction. Maybe it is his everyman quality that makes him seem both like a superhero and a normal guy you might see on the street that allows audiences to relate to him in perilous and fantastic situations. After departing the romantic hunk phase of his career, seeing Cruise take meatier roles in both blockbusters and dramas has been a treat for us who watch his movies. OBLIVION is another example of those movies and follows suit with Cruise flicks like MINORITY REPORT and maybe even the upcoming EDGE OF TOMORROW.

Many had high hopes dashed when they saw OBLIVION and called it a pretty movie with a pretty bad screenplay.  Similar comments were made about director Joseph Kosinski's previous scifi film, TRON: LEGACY.  Both movies do share that impeccable visual style that can overpower the script, but OBLIVION is far from a mediocre flick. It has all of the elements that make for an enjoyable post-apocalyptic action movie as well as the secret weapon in Tom Cruise.

Call him Sexy WALL-E

Unlike TRON: LEGACY, OBLIVION is not based on any prior films or existing properties. Kosinski developed OBLIVION as a graphic novel which went on to serve as the basis for the film. But, while it may be visually unique, OBLIVION is steeped in everything that has made up countless scifi films before it. Some may call this derivative or even cliche, but it works in OBLIVION. I heard the joke that the film should have been titled M. Night Shyamalan's OBLIVION for the way the film takes beautiful imagery, a decent script, and a twist ending and calls it a complete film. I would actually consider that a compliment for OBLIVION as it feels as refreshing and enjoyable as Shyamalan's earlier work.

We all know the old saying that every story has already been told. The goal is to tell it in a unique way. As technology grows and changes, we are now seeing movies that otherwise never could have been possible. But, there is nothing wrong with telling a story we have seen before and doing it well. OBLIVION exists as a gorgeous layer on top of a tried and true story: man left alone doing his job only to discover that job may not be what it seems. It doesn't sound terribly unique, but the landscapes of Iceland used to portray the desolate future Jack Harper inhabits are stunning. The set design for OBLIVION is impressive as well as the film has to balance the clean futuristic technology with the gritty, makeshift world of Morgan Freeman's band of survivors.

Game of Thrones 2077

But, what makes OBLIVION work is the cast. Supporting cast-members Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Melissa Leo, Zoe Bell, and Andrea Riseborough do an admirable job populating the world of the film. Morgan Freeman is a solid addition to any movie and proves once again that he can turn any role into a must watch performance. Olga Kurylenko does a good job with the little her role has to offer, but she isn't here for her acting ability.  The crux of what makes OBLIVION a success is Tom Cruise.  Even in his shittiest movies (ahem, KNIGHT AND DAY), Cruise manages to make lemons out of lemonade.  Here, he gives Jack Harper an approachable quality that makes the character feel like a normal guy in extraordinary circumstances while also setting himself apart as someone we can believe in and root for.  Cruise doesn't have to rely on yelling his lines as he has in the past and instead puts a true emotional core at the character's center as he begins to unravel the situation he finds himself in, torn between humanity and extraterrestrial invaders.

OBLIVION's highlight has to be the musical score by band M83.  Like Daft Punk's pumped up score for TRON: LEGACY, M83 scored OBLIVION with a thrilling musical accompaniment that takes the film to another level entirely. Joseph Kosinski worked closely with the band to make sure the arrangements fit with his vision and it absolutely does. M83 sends the film to another level much like Claudio Miranda's cinematography. In the hands of lesser craftsmen, OBLIVION would have been easily ignored. But between the direction, visuals, and music, OBLIVION reaches well above mediocrity.

Worst first date ever.

Released in April just before the summer movie season, OBLIVION was a modest success as it grossed almost $300 million worldwide. People may have gone in expecting an action-packed movie along the lines of what EDGE OF TOMORROW looks to deliver, but OBLIVION is a less complicated and more direct science fiction story. There is no deep analysis needed or subtext to discover in OBLIVION. What you see on the screen is what you get. It may not require the deep thinking many had been anticipating, but the movie still delivers as a fun ride. OBLIVION, without Tom Cruise, would not have been worth seeing. But, I am glad I got to.

Oh, and if you have any suggestions for The UnPopular Opinion I’m always happy to hear them. You can send along an email to alexmaidy@joblo.com, spell it out below, slap it up on my wall in Movie Fan Central, or send me a private message via Movie Fan Central. Provide me with as many movie suggestions as you like, with any reasoning you'd care to share, and if I agree then you may one day see it featured in this very column!
Source: JoBlo.com

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11:16PM on 06/04/2014

Knight and Day

Midway though the movie I started thinking of it as a sequel and literal "reboot" of the story in Vanilla Sky (which I really love, that might be an UnPopular Opinion), and that made it way better.

I think I really liked Oblivion. I only watched it once in theaters, and it really stuck with me. Looking forward to another viewing.
Midway though the movie I started thinking of it as a sequel and literal "reboot" of the story in Vanilla Sky (which I really love, that might be an UnPopular Opinion), and that made it way better.

I think I really liked Oblivion. I only watched it once in theaters, and it really stuck with me. Looking forward to another viewing.
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9:23PM on 06/04/2014

F*ck you, Sally!

Oblivion was one of my best moviegoing experiences of 2013, and maybe even a couple of years before that. It wasn't based on anything so I didn't know what to expect, and seeing that kind of visual awesomeness on a massive IMAX screen was incredible. I'm a huge M83 fan so the soundtrack just got to me. Just a damn fun movie all around.
Oblivion was one of my best moviegoing experiences of 2013, and maybe even a couple of years before that. It wasn't based on anything so I didn't know what to expect, and seeing that kind of visual awesomeness on a massive IMAX screen was incredible. I'm a huge M83 fan so the soundtrack just got to me. Just a damn fun movie all around.
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-1
5:11PM on 06/04/2014

Cruise the man

Oblivion was a good movie! Cruise can carry just about any type of movie but with syfy he is growing his rep!
Oblivion was a good movie! Cruise can carry just about any type of movie but with syfy he is growing his rep!
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4:02PM on 06/04/2014

solid sci-fi with superb visuals

Fuck you Sally!
Fuck you Sally!
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2:45PM on 06/04/2014
The movie delivered exactly what I wanted and I didn't mind a bit that it wasn't packed with action.
The movie delivered exactly what I wanted and I didn't mind a bit that it wasn't packed with action.
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-6
2:40PM on 06/04/2014

1/10 (could've been 0).

It has a clichd story, unexciting action and a questionable performance by Andrea Riseborough. The visuals can't hide that.
It has a clichd story, unexciting action and a questionable performance by Andrea Riseborough. The visuals can't hide that.
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2:40PM on 06/04/2014
I didn't know it was popular opinion to dislike this movie. Most people seemed to like it, but complained that the twist was obvious even from the trailers.
I didn't know it was popular opinion to dislike this movie. Most people seemed to like it, but complained that the twist was obvious even from the trailers.
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1:59PM on 06/04/2014
Never expected to see Oblivion in this column...
Never expected to see Oblivion in this column...
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1:47PM on 06/04/2014
I love this movie and the soundtrack is great.
I love this movie and the soundtrack is great.
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+0
1:41PM on 06/04/2014
Thought this film was generally well regarded.
Thought this film was generally well regarded.
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1:38PM on 06/04/2014
Um, the Popular Opinion maybe?
Um, the Popular Opinion maybe?
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12:38PM on 06/04/2014
One of my co-workers saw it and didn't like it. I wanted to see it but never got around to it. I'll give it a shot. I like Tom cruise.
One of my co-workers saw it and didn't like it. I wanted to see it but never got around to it. I'll give it a shot. I like Tom cruise.
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12:32PM on 06/04/2014
I liked Oblivion just thought it was long in some parts and Cruise only fighting the drones got repetitive. But loved the twist at the end.

Btw, I thought Knight and Day is underrated. Cruise kicked ass and was hilarious in it.
I liked Oblivion just thought it was long in some parts and Cruise only fighting the drones got repetitive. But loved the twist at the end.

Btw, I thought Knight and Day is underrated. Cruise kicked ass and was hilarious in it.
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5:40PM on 06/04/2014
Thank you! I absolutely fucking loved Knight and Day, rated it a 9/10. So many people took a dump on it I almost feel ashamed to admit it But, hell, it's a James Mangold flick, he's a very solid director.
Thank you! I absolutely fucking loved Knight and Day, rated it a 9/10. So many people took a dump on it I almost feel ashamed to admit it But, hell, it's a James Mangold flick, he's a very solid director.
+0
11:45AM on 06/04/2014
I didn't know ppl didn't like this movie..

I thought it was done well, cinematography, score, cruise, supporting cast.. People didn't like it cause it had elements from other movies in it? Many films have other elements of other films esp in scifi. Get over it, and just try to enjoy things, instead of searching for reasons to hate.
I didn't know ppl didn't like this movie..

I thought it was done well, cinematography, score, cruise, supporting cast.. People didn't like it cause it had elements from other movies in it? Many films have other elements of other films esp in scifi. Get over it, and just try to enjoy things, instead of searching for reasons to hate.
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11:41AM on 06/04/2014
I liked this a lot upon seeing it and much like others on here, didn't understand the hate. I'd give the film about a 7.5/10. Cruise was great as usual and the fx were aces. My disappointment came with Morgan Freeman's group and how little they had to do with the movie. The trailers were a bit misleading but I got over it and enjoyed the "twist" ending.
I liked this a lot upon seeing it and much like others on here, didn't understand the hate. I'd give the film about a 7.5/10. Cruise was great as usual and the fx were aces. My disappointment came with Morgan Freeman's group and how little they had to do with the movie. The trailers were a bit misleading but I got over it and enjoyed the "twist" ending.
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11:16AM on 06/04/2014
Didn't hate it, it's just a bit bland and lazily written. The scenery is beautiful and the production values are superb but I can't forgive the fact it ripped off Moon so blatantly.
Didn't hate it, it's just a bit bland and lazily written. The scenery is beautiful and the production values are superb but I can't forgive the fact it ripped off Moon so blatantly.
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+0
10:18AM on 06/04/2014

Supporting cast?

What supporting cast? Coster-Waldau got barely 2 minutes of screen time, Zoe Bell does not have any line as far as I remember and Morgan Freemanś character was underdeveloped. It was basically a One-Man show by Cruise and he did his best with a pretty generic and weak script.
What supporting cast? Coster-Waldau got barely 2 minutes of screen time, Zoe Bell does not have any line as far as I remember and Morgan Freemanś character was underdeveloped. It was basically a One-Man show by Cruise and he did his best with a pretty generic and weak script.
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10:06AM on 06/04/2014

WTF

I thought the point of the unpopular opinion was to share an unpopular opinion, mass dislike for Oblivion is news to me.....
I thought the point of the unpopular opinion was to share an unpopular opinion, mass dislike for Oblivion is news to me.....
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10:13AM on 06/04/2014
Yea, overall I didn't like the film and I really thought I was gonna read an article ab it being bad. From everything I've heard and read tho, it seems like the audience is pretty split. I'd guess the ppl who don't like it are more like 40%. These articles are picking more of just mixed films lately than ones that were widely received 1 way or the other.
Yea, overall I didn't like the film and I really thought I was gonna read an article ab it being bad. From everything I've heard and read tho, it seems like the audience is pretty split. I'd guess the ppl who don't like it are more like 40%. These articles are picking more of just mixed films lately than ones that were widely received 1 way or the other.
9:26AM on 06/04/2014
I love this movie. I recognize it has problems, but I love it. Everything about the set design, the costume and prop design, the visual effects- just stunning.
I love this movie. I recognize it has problems, but I love it. Everything about the set design, the costume and prop design, the visual effects- just stunning.
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9:21AM on 06/04/2014
Also, the "Fuck You, Sally" line was one of my favorite lines and scenes from any film that came out in 2013.
Also, the "Fuck You, Sally" line was one of my favorite lines and scenes from any film that came out in 2013.
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9:45AM on 06/04/2014
100% agree.
My favorite lines of 2013 movies in no special order :
- Plan B? We need a plan C, D, E. We need more alphabets (FF6)
- Fuck you Sally ( Oblivion)
- No hablo Chino (Gravity)
- Mother nature is a serial killer (World War Z)
- Sex : breakkast for Champions (Rush)
- A wise man can learn more from his enemies than a fool from his friends (Rush)
- The closer you are to death, the more alive you feel. It's a wonderful way to live. It's the only way to drive. (Rush)
- Let
100% agree.
My favorite lines of 2013 movies in no special order :
- Plan B? We need a plan C, D, E. We need more alphabets (FF6)
- Fuck you Sally ( Oblivion)
- No hablo Chino (Gravity)
- Mother nature is a serial killer (World War Z)
- Sex : breakkast for Champions (Rush)
- A wise man can learn more from his enemies than a fool from his friends (Rush)
- The closer you are to death, the more alive you feel. It's a wonderful way to live. It's the only way to drive. (Rush)
- Let me tell you something. There's no nobility in poverty. I have been a rich man and I have been a poor man, and I choose rich every fucking time. (the wolf of wall street)
11:13PM on 06/04/2014
All great lines and scenes.
All great lines and scenes.
9:20AM on 06/04/2014
Loved Oblivion. Saw it twice in theaters and thought the film was absolutely gorgeous to watch. I thought the story was good too and I like the fact that the film took it's time with the storytelling and with the whole big reveal. It made you care about the characters more and the situations they were in.

Definitely one of the better film of the year of 2013. Like I said before; you can never go wrong with Cruise, especially in a Sci-Fi film.
Loved Oblivion. Saw it twice in theaters and thought the film was absolutely gorgeous to watch. I thought the story was good too and I like the fact that the film took it's time with the storytelling and with the whole big reveal. It made you care about the characters more and the situations they were in.

Definitely one of the better film of the year of 2013. Like I said before; you can never go wrong with Cruise, especially in a Sci-Fi film.
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12:08AM on 06/05/2014
Wow, I liked it when I saw it in 2013 but couldn't sit through it a few weeks ago. The main reason I watched it in the first place was because of the mystery. Once I knew the twist it was hard to sit through. It's pretty slow.
Wow, I liked it when I saw it in 2013 but couldn't sit through it a few weeks ago. The main reason I watched it in the first place was because of the mystery. Once I knew the twist it was hard to sit through. It's pretty slow.
9:18AM on 06/04/2014

goodarguments but i disagree

except the very ending, I think it's a very good movie (7/10 in my books), not very original (reminded me " Moon ") but, the action was nice and the film was estetically beautifull.
Next : THE DARK KNIGHT (I love it, but I would love to read an intelligent unpopular opinion about it)
except the very ending, I think it's a very good movie (7/10 in my books), not very original (reminded me " Moon ") but, the action was nice and the film was estetically beautifull.
Next : THE DARK KNIGHT (I love it, but I would love to read an intelligent unpopular opinion about it)
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9:03AM on 06/04/2014
I absolutely loved this movie, and thought it was one of the best releases in 2013 which in my opinion was a very poor year for film. It was a refreshing sci fi movie with a tremendous score. and brilliant VFX.
I absolutely loved this movie, and thought it was one of the best releases in 2013 which in my opinion was a very poor year for film. It was a refreshing sci fi movie with a tremendous score. and brilliant VFX.
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9:02AM on 06/04/2014

I really don't understand the hate for Tom Cruise.

Great movie and great actor. Really enjoyed that movie when it came out last year. I don't understand why people can't look past Tom Cruise the person when they here he's attached to a movie.
Great movie and great actor. Really enjoyed that movie when it came out last year. I don't understand why people can't look past Tom Cruise the person when they here he's attached to a movie.
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8:56AM on 06/04/2014
I really enjoyed this movie--the only people who didn't (whom I respect) noted that it was basically a Hollywood version of "Moon", which I agree, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
I really enjoyed this movie--the only people who didn't (whom I respect) noted that it was basically a Hollywood version of "Moon", which I agree, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
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8:55AM on 06/04/2014
It's actually a good sci-fi and beautifully shot as well. Tom owns the role.
It's actually a good sci-fi and beautifully shot as well. Tom owns the role.
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8:52AM on 06/04/2014
Loved watching Tom in those gorgeous visuals.Definitely Tom's one of the best performances.some people were disappointed at first as they expected a summer blockbuster kind of film but its more of a Sci-fi drama thriller.would have loved to watch an action sequence with Tom's clones.
Loved watching Tom in those gorgeous visuals.Definitely Tom's one of the best performances.some people were disappointed at first as they expected a summer blockbuster kind of film but its more of a Sci-fi drama thriller.would have loved to watch an action sequence with Tom's clones.
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8:47AM on 06/04/2014
Miguel makes a good point. It just seems popular now and for the past few years to hate on Tom Cruise. I have a coworker who won't go see Edge of Tomorrow because Cruise is in it. I asked him why and he said, "Dude's crazy. He jumps on couches and thinks Scientology is real." I don't know why people let filmmakers' personal lives get in their way of enjoying perfectly good movies. You are denying yourself and enjoyable experience because you don't agree with one guy's views that have nothing to
Miguel makes a good point. It just seems popular now and for the past few years to hate on Tom Cruise. I have a coworker who won't go see Edge of Tomorrow because Cruise is in it. I asked him why and he said, "Dude's crazy. He jumps on couches and thinks Scientology is real." I don't know why people let filmmakers' personal lives get in their way of enjoying perfectly good movies. You are denying yourself and enjoyable experience because you don't agree with one guy's views that have nothing to do with the film at hand? If I lived by this logic I wouldn't go see Avengers because Joss Whedon is an atheist, or enjoy the great writing of Woody Allen or the impressive directing skills of Roman Polanski because of the disturbing pasts both of those men have. Anyway, Tom Cruise hasn't released a bad movie in recent memory and Oblivion was one of my favorite movies of last year. I also really enjoyed Jack Reacher, another underrated film from last year. And let's not forget his hilarious turn in Tropic Thunder! I can't wait to see Edge of Tomorrow!
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8:42AM on 06/04/2014
Well thank the gods I'm not the only person who loves this movie. I think it's far deeper than this review gives it credit for, actually, BUT, it's nice to see someone who could appreciate it from even a surface value.
Well thank the gods I'm not the only person who loves this movie. I think it's far deeper than this review gives it credit for, actually, BUT, it's nice to see someone who could appreciate it from even a surface value.
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9:07AM on 06/04/2014
SPOILERS:

Agreed Critic, I think he movie had a lot more layers than most people give it credit for. It seems people automatically jump on the cloning aspect and say it has been done before. However the more important idea of the movie for me was this idea of a great deception the lie and the promise of a better world. Something which resonates in our current time. The mass media, Cultural Marxism etc etc.
SPOILERS:

Agreed Critic, I think he movie had a lot more layers than most people give it credit for. It seems people automatically jump on the cloning aspect and say it has been done before. However the more important idea of the movie for me was this idea of a great deception the lie and the promise of a better world. Something which resonates in our current time. The mass media, Cultural Marxism etc etc.
8:22AM on 06/04/2014
I enjoyed it, the main reason being that it had this serenity and a desolate beauty to it. A lot of sci-fi action films can get too manic; here was a movie that wasn't stuffed with shaky cam and whiplash editing. Tom Cruise also helped. Cruise showed yet again why hes managed to maintain considerable longevity as a big-name movie star hes an actor who can command attention. At the hands of a lesser performer, its likely that Jack Harper could have blended into his bleak surroundings.
I enjoyed it, the main reason being that it had this serenity and a desolate beauty to it. A lot of sci-fi action films can get too manic; here was a movie that wasn't stuffed with shaky cam and whiplash editing. Tom Cruise also helped. Cruise showed yet again why hes managed to maintain considerable longevity as a big-name movie star hes an actor who can command attention. At the hands of a lesser performer, its likely that Jack Harper could have blended into his bleak surroundings. Granted, I did like Edge of Tomorrow a fair bit more. Oblivion is the sort of film that was less contemplative than it appeared, and while it wasn't particularly engaging on a story or character level, the world that Kosinki and his team constructed was a masterpiece (enhanced by M83s atmospheric techno score) and it just pulled me in.
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8:01AM on 06/04/2014
I love this movie. It's so unfair the hate it got. Sure, it draws elements from other movies we've seen, like the Matrix or Wall-E, but every movie does this. I also don't get the Tom Cruise hate. Yes, he's in a terrible cult, but that's his private life. That shouldn't matter when watching or reviewing a movie.

And by the way, everyone jokes about his height. Robert Downey Jr. has the same height, but nobody makes fun of him. Tom Cruise is just easier to complain about, right?
I love this movie. It's so unfair the hate it got. Sure, it draws elements from other movies we've seen, like the Matrix or Wall-E, but every movie does this. I also don't get the Tom Cruise hate. Yes, he's in a terrible cult, but that's his private life. That shouldn't matter when watching or reviewing a movie.

And by the way, everyone jokes about his height. Robert Downey Jr. has the same height, but nobody makes fun of him. Tom Cruise is just easier to complain about, right?
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7:49AM on 06/04/2014

I never knew it was hated

My kids and I loved it. Maybe because it felt like a long episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE with a thousand times better SFX and scenery, and we love Tom Cruise.
My kids and I loved it. Maybe because it felt like a long episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE with a thousand times better SFX and scenery, and we love Tom Cruise.
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7:43AM on 06/04/2014
I never got the hate for this movie. I loved it. It's definitely a movie best left unanalyzed, but I found the imagery and music absolutely captivated me. That pool scene towards the beginning with Andrea Riseborough - delightful.
I never got the hate for this movie. I loved it. It's definitely a movie best left unanalyzed, but I found the imagery and music absolutely captivated me. That pool scene towards the beginning with Andrea Riseborough - delightful.
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