Written by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke
Starring Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, and Douglas Rain
I saved this for last in my Kubrick retrospective. It was not an entirely satisfying conclusion. I'll just assume that anyone reading this has already seen the movie, or at least knows its story, so be prepared for spoilers.
The part of this movie about the Jupiter mission (culminating with Dave shutting down Hal's higher functions) is a fantastic short science fiction film. I thought that everything with Dave, Hal, and Frank is great. The section on the moon, just before that, is also quite compelling, though it builds to something that was ultimately, for me, unanswered and unsatisfying. The opening section, at the "Dawn of Man," makes for an interesting faux documentary, but I can't say much about it as a piece of narrative film, except that Kubrick presented what I think is a one-dimensional and rather stark view of aboriginal human nature; to me, that seems limited. I found the ending incomprehensible. Unfortunately, that it makes hard to piece the whole film together.
I could say that, like the dark, blank screen at the beginning and end of a film, Kubrick's obelisk throws us back upon ourselves. It is our task to piece together the meaning of humanity and our own lives from our inception to our ultimate destination, and the obelisk represents that demand, which is different from, but related to, the void of space. This is the purpose of the obelisk, and it is also the purpose of film, and all art. Yes, I could say that, and it might even be true. As I consider it, there may be something to it. I just wish his point of view were more explicit and less oblique. I'm not looking for cowboys in white hats killing cowboys in black hats, but something that had a little more in common with Paths of Glory or even Barry Lyndon or The Killing would be more approachable.
|Who would have thought that a light could be so frightening?|
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