The Island

The movie, “The Island” will be analyzed in a sociological perspective.  This paper aims to discuss how the different concepts of sociology are applicable to the movie.  It will study the culture apparent in the society of the movie.  It will also look into the various social behavior and the roles of power that is evident.  This paper will also illustrate how functionalism and conflict theory view the society projected by the movie.  As movies could be representation on human imagination or projection.  This paper aims to reveal what may be the possible society that may come of humanity based on the sociological perspective of the movie.

The setting takes place in a high technology compound in an isolated island. Everything is guarded with security cameras, heat sensors and members of the community have designated identification and tracking devices.  Protagonists Lincoln Six Echo and Jordan Two Delta were the ones who discovered that they were clones. While the antagonist, Dr. Merrick, was the colony’s physician and owner of Merrick Biotech.

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The plot revolves around the residents of the island who have specific jobs and activities to do routinely.  There are also strictly implemented rules and regulations for the citizens to follow. The ultimate reward for their hard work was a chance to win a lottery; wherein the prize is an all expense paid trip to a beach resort.  Thus, this sets a condition for everyone to have an aspiration to have their turn to win the lottery.  It is climaxed when the protagonists, Lincoln Six Echo and Jordan Two Delta discover that they were clones and that Merrick Biotech is an insurance company that makes clones.  They discover that the lottery actually means the death of a clone. Thus, they seize to escape their world and discover an unfamiliar environment.  However, in this new environment they still strive to survive as they seek to reveal the truth and find ways to save the other clones while hunted by mercenaries to keep the confidentiality and purpose of the company.

Sociology is defined as the systematic study of human behavior in social context where social causes are distinct from physical and emotional causes thus understanding social causes can help clarify inexplicable features of famine, marriage, etc.[1]  “The Island,” reveals dimensions of sociological behavior.  With the setting of high technology environment, the movie shows the Post Industrial Revolution where their technology driven society is shifted to service industries. [2]  The citizens were laborers of high technology products providing service that is unknown to them.  It also shows the residents’ unconscious contribution to Globalization wherein their production of clones provides interdependence to other countries.[3]

The people of the island follow a certain routine dictated by the announcer.  They abide by the schedules set, a time for work, a time for exercise and a time for entertainment.  They submit to this cycle as conformity to the society.  This sets a culture in their society, that conformity to the rules without question seizes as what is right.  It shows the face of culture, which is one that constrains.[4] They are limited to the microstructures of their daily routine as part of a society.

However, the face of culture which provides an opportunity for freedom arises when Lincoln Six Echo acts on his curiosity, and undertakes steps to understand his dreams.  An individual from the colony uses his consciousness to attend to the need for answers to his dreams, pursue his forbidden relationship with Jordan Two Delta and to escape the possibility of death.  It is this freedom that an individual creates a new element of culture.

Roles of power in social interaction are evident in the movie.  The submission of the clones to the rules announced to the community reveals domination, where all power is concentrated on the hands of Dr. Merrick, the colony’s physician and the owner of Merrick Biotech.  His role was to know all that is happening in the community.  He works as a counselor to guide each clone into the limited consciousness that he should have to maintain the company’s purpose. He dictates what should be done on situations that occur in this society and makes sure that everything is in order.

The other type of interaction, cooperation, eventually takes its course when the two protagonists work together with the goal to escape the island and survival. When the conflict of the plot arises, both work together to divulge the purpose of their existence to their fellow clones and to escape the world that they know. It is very evident that both characters based their interaction on trust.

The Functionalism theory may be viewed from the movie “The Island” when the residents have their specific roles in their community.  They were restricted to that task and were not allowed to venture into other specialization. A group of clones were specialized on dropping chemicals on the test tube, while another group worked on machines.  The harmony of their society was evident when each concentrated on their jobs and did not attempt to develop another skill.

On the other hand, the conflict theory was revealed when the protagonist Lincoln Six Echo was driven to his consciousness of his dreams. He seeks to question the authority of Dr. Merrick and tries to find out the truth in their organization.  Thus, the harmony of the colony is challenged and the social inequality is at question.  Dr. Merrick’s attempts to keep the truth from the remaining clones are challenged as well.

Values are ideas about what is right and wrong.[5]  “The Island” reveals various values in the present society; more importantly raises the phenomena on cloning.  As the values are motivations to set a culture, the future of the society is challenged on the sociological phenomena of cloning.

Culture is a reflection of society.[6]  Individuals, using their element of freedom set a certain culture.  And as an individual who is part of a community and affects a community, he sets a culture for a society.  While an individual’s action changes, society changes and thus, affects the culture to change.  Like the culture that has been set in “The Island,” it has been constant for a certain period but has been challenged to change, as one clone is awakened to consciousness and sets decisions for himself.  The global society is the same; people are accustomed to a culture that has been learned. But as freedom is used to solve practical problems, attain needs, achieve joys and conquer fears, a culture is reinvented by the society.