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Poster for The Island
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The Island

Director: Michael Bay Run Time: 136 min. Format: 35mm Rating: PG 13 Release Year: 2005

Starring: Ewan McGregorm, Scarlett Johansson, Djimon Hounsou, Sean Bean, Michael Clarke Duncan

Co-hosted by writer/programmer Steve Macfarlane

“The life you think you had? It never happened!”

Released in 2005 but set in the not-so-distant-future, The Island depicts a world where a worldwide pandemic (!) has forced the last of humankind to hunker down in a sanctuary bubble where HD cameras and armed overseers supervise every last move of the inhabitants, including Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan MacGregor.) Forbidden to fraternize across genders, these worker drones’ lives consist of menial labor and colorless food; what keeps them going is the chance of being chosen to relocate to Earth’s last contagion-free zone, a whispered-about tropical paradise known only as The Island.

After Lincoln finds out he and his fellow serfs are actually clones used to supply replacement organs for the elites of the outside world, he mounts a daring escape alongside the beautiful Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson). In an era that valorizes filmmakers who take “big swings,” it’s fascinating that The Island – Michael Bay’s only genuine flop, and the highest-concept film of his pre-Transformers period – still can’t get any respect. The Book of Genesis, THX 1138, Logan’s Run, Soylent Green, Fahrenheit 451, The Beach, Survivor, the music video for “Stitches” by Orgy: it’s all deliriously mashed up (or, if you like, harvested for parts) here in the auteur’s signature swirl of blinding, maximalist, steroidal chaos. – Steve Macfarlane