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Film / The Island

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"You're special. You have a very special purpose in life. You've been chosen. The Island awaits you."

The Island is a 2005 film by Michael Bay set 20 Minutes into the Future starring Ewan McGregor as Lincoln Six Echo and Scarlett Johansson as Jordan Two Delta. They live in a tightly controlled facility for "survivors" from a vague disaster that rendered the Earth uninhabitable except for "The Island", a paradise on Earth. Periodically, survivors "found" in the outside world are brought in, needing to learn basic skills like reading, while others "win the lottery" and get to go to the island.

It turns out they're all clones that will be used for spare parts as part of a life-insurance policy, and those sent off to The Island are killed. When Lincoln starts getting dreams from his original he gets curious and stumbles across a harvesting procedure. Caught, he manages to escape, but goes back to rescue Jordan and the two escape to the outside world.


Many fans consider this an unofficial remake of Clonus, since both share far too many similarities to be coincidence (in fact, the director of Parts sued and won an out-of-court settlement). It also seems to have echoes of Logan's Run, along with blatant imitations of THX 1138. Also notable for being one of the many movies in which Sean Bean is a bad guy.

Not to be confused with the 1980 Michael Caine film about pirates.

If you are looking for the novel by Elin Hildebrand, click here.


This film provides examples of:

  • After the End: Due to an unspecified disaster, Earth is a barren wasteland-or so the clones have been led to believe.
  • Artificial Outdoors Display: The colony has one projecting a scene of a mountain to the inhabitants, masking its true purpose. Lincoln Echo Six disables it at the end to reveal the truth to them.
  • Brick Joke: Dr. Merrick injects microprobes into Lincoln near the beginning of the film, and says that he will pass them through his urine. Later Lincoln is seen standing in front of of a urinal, groaning, while you can hear something going CLINK CLINK CLINK in the urinal.
  • Chekhov's Armory
    • Jordan's ability to recognize that Lincoln is lying. Both Lincolns
    • Lincoln's surfacing Genetic Memory. It's how he figures out how to drive.
    • Lincoln's ability to perfectly imitate his sponsor's Scottish accent. It's how he's able to convince Laurent that he's Tom.
    • The barcodes the clones are branded with. It's what prompts Laurent's Heel–Face Turn when he compares it to his own branding.
    • The power station Lincoln passes through on his escape. It's the one he destroys to shut down the holographic emitters and reveal the outside world to the clones.
  • Color Wash: Orange and Teal (see poster at top of this page)
  • Cool Car: Lincoln's "real" self designs them as well as boats, which his clone dreams about and are our first clue that something's up.
  • Easily Forgiven: The protagonists don't seem to hold it against Laurent for killing their friend McCord.
  • Escaped from the Lab: The lead couple, escaped from the hospital.
  • Evil Brit: Dr. Merrick — he's played by Sean Bean, so of course.
  • Expendable Clone: All the clones were created for this purpose alone.
  • Eye Scream: Lincoln is injected with microprobes near the beginning of the film, which enter via the eye sockets.
  • Fish out of Water: Lincoln and Jordan after escaping, they have no concept of how anything in the real world works.
  • Genetic Memory: How Lincoln can drive all the cool vehicles in the movie, and mimic Tom Lincoln's Scottish accent with impeccable accuracy.
  • A Glass of Chianti: Dr. Merrick is seen watching the Lottery in his private abode, drinking from a wine glass.
  • A God Am I: Merrick's motive rant near the end of the movie starts heading in this direction, something Laurent is quick to call him on.
    Merrick: In less than two years I will be able to cure childrens' leukemia. How many people on Earth can say that!?
    Laurent: Well, I suppose just you and God. That is the answer you were looking for, right?
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Lincoln uses crowbars and hand-to-hand combat to fight while Jordan uses guns. Though she was shown to be better at the combat simulator, perhaps she just likes guns better.
  • Hand Wave: When Merrick explains the whole concept behind the compound to the mercenary leader the first thing that is asked is why not really just clone braindead templates like Merrick is saying he does to the world, Merrick explains that the mindless bodies didn't developed right for some reason while aware clones did.
  • He Knows Too Much: Gandu Three Echo confronts Dr. Merrick after becoming suspicious and is subsequently murdered.
  • Human Resources: It's revealed that the "survivors" who are being groomed to repopulate the eponymous Island are really the clones of rich and famous people, used for organ donations and giving birth.
  • Idiot Plot: The second half of the movie mainly involves a security team, composed of ex-military personnel trying to conduct a cover up. They do so by treating it like a military operation, and making a scene at the slightest provocation.
  • Insistent Terminology: All the workers in the compound refer to the clones as "products", and think about them this way as well, leading to some heartless exchanges like this one:
    Doctor: You mean you want to destroy $200 million worth of product?
    (i.e. kill thousands of sentient humans.)
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Steve Buscemi plays one, befriending Lincoln and helping him after escaping despite great reservations.
  • Kick the Dog: Dr. Merick gets to do this repeatedly, mostly to create dissonance between things he says (e.g. telling investors that their spare parts do not come from sentient humans) and what he does (heartlessly killing a clone who actually likes being there while praising him for the human trait of curiosity).
  • Killing Your Alternate Self: Although in fairness, most of the insurance policy benefactors probably didn't know that they were paying for the creation and slaughter of fully sentient duplicates. Who can apparently share their dreams.
    • Also what Lincoln tricks his pursuers into doing for him, after being betrayed by his original.
  • Let's Meet the Meat: Quoted with darkly amusing and unnervingly apt effect by Buscemi's character "Well, just because people want to eat the burgers doesn't mean they want to meet the cow."
  • Meaningful Name: Lincoln Six Echo emancipates the clones.
  • Naytheist: James McCord, Steve Buscemi's character, who introduces the concept of religion to the clones:
    Lincoln Six-Echo: What's "God"?
    McCord: Well, you know when you want something really really bad and you close your eyes and you wish for it? God's the guy who ignores you.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted, as part of a Brick Joke.
  • No Sex Allowed: Inside the community of clones, though to be fair it's more "What is sex?" than "No sex allowed". Subverted in the outside world...
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist:Dr Merrick claims that the reason he kills the sentient clones on the island so that can be used for organ donations and giving birth is to help the world cure various disease and advance the field of science. In reality though he's motivated by a raging A God Am I and belief in his own superiority. Best exemplified by the fact that the clones he cuts up for their organs aren't even supposed to be sentient, the rest of the world believes them to be braindead because Merrick lied about them being sentient which is why they permit them being used as organ donors in the first place.
  • Now What?: All right, the good guys win. But where will they go and what can they do with no legally recognized ID, no previous contact with civilization, and little to no knowledge of the world outside? Good question. This may also count as an Esoteric Happy Ending.
  • Oh, Crap!: When it is discovered that the dead Lincoln is the original Tom Lincoln and not the clone.
  • The Outside World: The first act takes place in an underground bunker, inhabited by people who believe the world has been devastated by some vague disaster, with their bunker and a paradise-like place called 'The Island' from which no-one ever returns to be the only remaining bastions of human civilisation. The protagonists, Lincoln and Jordan, escape the bunker when they learn that it's a People Farm where the inhabitants are cloned and harvested for their organs, and discover that the outside world is fine.


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