like michael moore’s last two films this movie’s reviews are going to consist of 95% content review and, at best, 5% of film review. actually, this film may prompt a little more discussion of style and filmic-based reviewing because it’s so unconventional, but i maintain that the vast majority of the reviews of this film will probably discuss the ideas presented in the film more than the way in which they are presented. it starts as a documentary with amateurish production and hints of the kinds of fictionalized recreations of the discussed ideas that you might see on a pbs show talking about a similar topic. the film deals with the essence of being and seeks to, in lay terms, explore the implications of modern quantum physics. it sounds very interesting and if pbs/nova had done it, then it might have been a very rewarding experience, but pbs wouldn’t have interviewed a woman channeling someone from beyond. pbs would have also likely filtered out some of the more easily defeated material like the guy who says that if we really tried we could walk on water, or the water experiment conducted by Dr. Mu Shik Jhon (he took bottles of water, wrote different things on them and then took pictures of the water using a special microscope. it turns out that depending upon what was written on the bottle (“chi of love”, “i want to kill you” etc.) the water would take on different molecular structures.)
but really it doesn’t matter that much. the truth is that you’re either going to believe this stuff or not, and all sorts of arguments can be made by either side. go here if you don’t believe me. there are some reasonable arguments made by people on both sides. i think that you can liquidate either argument. one side could say that the science in the studies is bad for one reason or another, and the other side could say that these ideas supersede our normal conceptions of science and/or logic – that all logic is is our sad attempt to make sense of that which does not make sense…or one side could say that mavericks of the truth have always been outsiders and the other could just explain away their need to internalize and control the universe by saying it’s a reaction to the increasing chaos of post-modernism….and even if the two sides agree on some “truths” (say, that there is one consciousness that we call god), there will always be debate about what this means, where this puts us in the grand scheme, etc. as for me, and my views on what was discussed in the film, i think about 80% of it was theoretical hogwash. a lot of it reminded me of the stuff that michael mercury is talking about when he says he sleeps on books so that he can soak up the knowledge while he’s asleep. and even if it was 100% true, it doesn’t matter all that much to me. the thing is that, for me, i can’t ever convince myself of any Truth because i can pretty much always see the other side. as a result i just sort of plod along on the same path. it’s both depressing and reassuring, i suppose.
back to the film…it’s got plenty of documentary footage – interviews with people who are normally relegated to late night programs selling special tea that cures cancer, depression, aids and hair loss; or some “personal power” program that will make your life better in six weeks, or your money back. they discuss quantum physics and how the world is a lot different than we imagined it 100 years ago, and how it’s probably different than we imagine it today. none of the interviewees are identified until the end when they are revealed to be mostly scholars, mostly from reputable universities. interspersed is the story of a woman, played by marlee matlin, who is a photographer. we see her at home, playing basketball, at work, etc. her activities parallel the documentary footage we are shown. so they’ll talk about how there are multiple possible realties and it’ll cut to her on the basketball court with several basketballs behind her. this is where the film really lost me as a viewer. it begins with documentary footage and the documentary footage is followed by visual reinforcement in the form of this fictional story. this indicated to me that i was watching a documentary that was going to have an academic tone, but the film strays far from this and it does a major disservice to the ideas that are presented. if i were the filmmakers i would counter this with “well, we were trying to achieve a visual style that complemented the level of shock that the subject matter brings. since it is such a jarring set of ideas that is being discussed, we sought to achieve a similar effect in the format of our film; thus you have the decidedly unconventional and genre-bending film that you see before you. thanks for the eight bucks.” again, it’s up to the viewer to decide whether they thought the format (along with the title) was playful and inline with the material, or if it was incongruous, off-putting, and unprofessional. i felt the latter for the reasons i already mentioned. and even if i didn’t, i didn’t think the fictional storyline was entertaining or enlightening enough to be enjoyable at any rate. so if you want my opinion on the film, as a film i give it a D+, and if you want a more objective opinion of the film as a stimulus for conversation then i’ll give it a C+. but i really can’t give it anything higher than that if not for the simple fact that i found the computer animation and shaman shit too damn cheezy. watch the matrix, donnie darko, or waking life instead. or read a book.
p.s. the music was just so-so, but i recognized the music credit (christopher franke)…turns out he was in tangerine dream which is pretty fitting.Watched in theater