ARQ Movie Reviewed Explained and Discussed
ARQ is a character driven onion of a movie that is constantly moving forward regardless of how much it moves backwards. IMDB
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ARQ Movie Reviewed Explained and Discussed

To kick this discussion off, I have to say that this movie reminds me of a ton of other movies we have discussed FOREVER here. Movies like The Signal, Memento, Upstream Color, Coherence, The One I Love, Synchronicity, The Invitation, and a million others. I’m sure we’ll have a ton of fun discussing this one too. And Aaron? You have won the day by suggesting a new movie for us to discuss and investigate. This movie is called Arq, and it is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. You can only get it from Netflix right now, but that’s ok, because everyone has Netflix. No? You all have Netflix, or you have someone’s login to Netflix anyway. So please head out to Netflix and watch the film. If you don’t just want to take my word for it… here is the trailer.

Alright, see? Trailer is good. The movie is even better. I had a lot of fun with this one straight up through to the ending. Oooh, I see what you were trying to do there. You were trying to get me to talk about the movie before I dropped a spoiler warning down. Weren’t you? Well, too bad. Tough luck. No way. So with that said, if you haven’t seen this movie, you really ought to move along because about the only thing non-spoilery from here on out will be a random comment about the appropriateness of Australia going toes up. Nope. That’s a spoiler too. DANG IT. Anyway, you get the idea. Go watch the movie and then come on back.

So with that… on to the spoilers

Quick ARQ overview 

Yes, I know you just saw the film, and then you went to Google to find out what the heck just happened… but I think it might be good to do a quick, high level overview. Basically, Renton wakes up, in bed next to his former girlfriend. And while he is stroking her face, three armed, masked bandits break in and start beating him senseless and tying him up. In the next minute, Renton dies, causing himself to start awake back in bed wondering what just happened. There is Hannah beside him. And here come the armed bandits again.

As the repetitions continue Renton is the only one that is self aware of the fact that the events are reoccurring. Soon Renton finds out that Hannah is Mother, and a member of the rebellion group Bloc. (That really startled me actually. Well played Mr. Elliott.) Hannah has actually brought the Bloc to Renton in order to still his scrips (money) of which he has over a million and a half credits (whatever that means). There was no other directive, they just wanted his money. EXCEPT that Cuzz and Sonny are not with the Bloc, they are actually agents of Torus, sent to get the ARQ back from Renton and to capture Renton dead or alive.

We then proceed to get iteration after iteration of this playing out (nine total actually) wherein Renton and Hannah slowly begin to trust one another again and begin to figure out how to solve this quandry they are in. Yes? Okay? Great, that is a good general overview for now.

What does ARQ stand for?

I have to start here. Because this is awesome. And it’s recursively awesomer and awesomer the deeper you look at this name. Ok. Ready?

ARQ stands for “Arcing Recursive Quine” – yes? I literally replayed that section of the movie 4 times before I got it. DID HE SAY TWINE? VINE? And dude, I don’t have a half bad vocabulary. But Quine didn’t come to mind immediately even though I work in IT and it should have. So check this out. Arcing. Recursive. Quine.

Arcing, is that due to the security that Renton enables on the power source? The shocking bit, that will kill you unless it’s disabled? Maybe? Or maybe it is more a reference to the power that the system creates… because remember, this is a self perpetuating power source, not a time machine. It is accidentally a power machine. We’ll get to that, I’m jumping ahead.

Recursive, as in, to recursively loop. Or more specifically, “relating to or involving a program or routine of which a part requires the application of the whole, so that its explicit interpretation requires in general many successive executions.”

Now what about Quine? This is where this gets fun. A quine is – “/kwi:n/ A program that generates a copy of its own source text as its complete output. Devising the shortest possible quine in some given programming language is a common hackish amusement.” Catch that? A quine is a program that outputs itself. (Which is trickier than it sounds. I tried writing one just now on my whiteboard as a thought exercise and was fascinated how tricky it gets – a program that outputs the program that was itself?!?)

So to rephrase what a Arcing Recursive Quine means – it would be an energy loop that outputs itself in a loop of itself. (Not sure I got all the recursions there. But I gave it a go.) All that to say, it’s a complicated name. And the name, and its complexities are extraordinarily relevant to the ending. But wait for it.

What is the ARQ?

Renton built the ARQ for Torus, as a infinite energy creation solution to the world’s energy crisis. Right? It is a cylinder that is fed by fuel, that creates energy that feeds the fuel tanks in perpetuity. So much so that he is able to create plants, apple trees, and other delicacies that the world doesn’t have anymore. He’s able to run his air generators in the home. He’s able to do a lot of things that most other homes cannot do because of the energy output of the ARQ.

But what does it become? Well, strangely enough, when Cuz touches the ARQ at precisely 06:11:06:03 am it kills him, and it also causes the machine to short and loop time every 3 hours and 14 minutes.

start> 06:11:06:03   end> 09:25:21:09   complete

There are details on this screen that actually help us understand the ending a lot better. Let’s just say that the detail was very well thought through here.

Arq Movie World Building Details

When the movie first started I was most curious about what was happening in the world outside of the house. As we progress 30 seconds into the film we start to see blacked out windows. We then see news announcements talking about the chaos going on around the world. And then we start to hear comments by someone called The Pope? And maybe she has been captured? It is a surreal sort of opening and we are getting lots of very key side details that point to an extraordinarily intense world outside.

Tony Elliott (who has written for Black Orphan (can I get an amen?) and 12 Monkeys (oh, yeah…) said in an interview that I read last night after the movie ended (think it was on Oh here we go, here’s the link for you to check out if you’d like.) “Obviously there is a degree of liberty whenever you explore time manipulation, but I wanted the story to feel as grounded and plausible as possible. So after establishing the temporal angle, I started world-building — extrapolating the world’s current conflicts, issues, and potential outcomes — and saw tehmatic parallels. So while that’s all cool stuff with great texture, what ultimately matters are the characters and their journeys.” And I can’t agree with him there more… BUT… the WORLD man! What the heck is going on in this crazy world of yours?!  Let me take a swipe at pulling a few details together about this world that we are experiencing and see if they float with all of you:

  1. There is massive energy crisis that has hit the entire world.
  2. Australia has basically imploded (that is said multiple times – or one time, over and over again?) and everyone is dead there?
  3. There is a massive war raging all the way around the world.
  4. The war is between Torus – a multinational Big Brother equivalent that likes to torture and lay waste to the planet to get what they want – and the Bloc – which is the Colonialists equivalent, I think?
  5. The air of the world is unbreatheable, and requires air filtration masks for going outside
  6. Torus has a robot army that fights its wars for them
  7. The leader of the Bloc (torus resistance movement) is The Pope (I think?)

I’m sure there are more details that we can derive about the world, but you get the general idea. It’s a very hostile world. A world filled with war, torture, inhospitable environments, and death. Oh, and a

Time Travel Rules for the Movie ARQ

So there are definitely a number of very specific rules upon which the movie ARQ is based.

Tony Elliott definitely had a serious plan in place and did a fantastic job world building for the time travel details for this movie despite the fact that I was 100% wrong about how the time travel actually worked at minute 20. But after we get to the end of the movie we see some very clear rules for how the system works.

  1. “Time” loop starts at 06:11:06:03
  2. “Time” loop stops at 09:25:21:09
  3. The diameter of the time loop is something like 300 feet around the house
  4. The further into the loop the faster “time” moves
  5. Those closest to the ARQ remember less
  6. Those furthest from the ARQ remember loops more
  7. <Serious Spoiler highlight to read> – The ARQ Loops 9 times, and then resets
  8. <Serious Spoiler highlight to read> – Upon reset their memories are wiped for all prior loops

I have included to the right a screen scrape of the perimeter around the house demarking the limit of the time anomaly that is indicated in rule number 3. Which, reminds me a ton of The One I Love, except in that movie, someone actually tried to cross the boundary. What do you think would happen if they were to actually try and step over? Personally? Bedlam. I think all manner of bedlam would happen. But that is a topic for Mr. Elliott if one of you would screw up the courage to ask him. I’ve already bombarded him with way too many questions.

And It was actually a fairly simple question that I asked Mr. Elliott that got me thinking. And thinking. And even before he responded I had watched the ending again and realized my error, and which led me to understand Time Travel Rule #’s 7 and 8. But if you look closely at the ARQ screen, it shows evidence of this sub-recursive loop in the numbering of the loops that have occurred and then the nine main line that takes over again. So maybe we should talk through the ending of the movie in detail in order to explain how rules number 7 and 8 work.

The Ending of ARQ Explained

Well, I was fairly confused when I first started thinking about the ending because I didn’t like the “distance from the ARQ” detail. How could it possibly explain why NOW of all loops that they started realizing what was happening? Made zero sense to me. But then I saw evidence of the sub-routine looping on the screen that pointed to a whole ‘nother layer of rules I hadn’t at first understood. So thinking about it programmatically, the loops worked something like this:

Mainthread start
Initially main routine…



start> 06:011:06:03   end>   09:25:21:09   COMPLETE
start> 06:011:06:03   end>   09:25:21:09   COMPLETE
start> 06:011:06:03   end>   09:25:21:09   COMPLETE
start> 06:011:06:03   end>   09:25:21:09   COMPLETE
start> 06:011:06:03   end>   09:25:21:09   COMPLETE
start> 06:011:06:03   end>   09:25:21:09   COMPLETE
start> 06:011:06:03   end>   09:25:21:09   COMPLETE
start> 06:011:06:03   end>   09:25:21:09   COMPLETE
start> 06:011:06:03   end>   09:25:21:09   COMPLETE



start> 06:011:06:03   end>   09:25:21:09   COMPLETE
start> 06:011:06:03   end>   09:25:21:09   COMPLETE
start> 06:011:06:03   end…

You get the idea. Most of this information I pulled from the screen of the movie itself. The mainline stuff I made up to help point out the fact that there is a master controller that is maintining session state and memory handling and dumping memory (literally.) So, at the risk of saying it one more time a different way, there are MILLIONS of loops that Hannah and Renton have experienced. But they can only (at max) remember 9 of them at any give loop of the subroutine. Yeah, I didn’t understand that at first. Did you catch that?

So the reason their task to video a message in time is so vital, it will be the only memory that they will have during the next loop. It’s like Memento, his only method of communicating with himself was via his tattoos. Renton’s only method of communicating with himself post the 9 loop event is the video he could record in the ARQ system itself. Yes? Please tell me that makes sense. Or that I’m an idiot for not getting that at first. Thanks. No, not that forcefully thanks.

ARQ Theories and Possibilities

ARQ Theory #1 – the ever optimist theory

Mr. Elliott has said in a couple of interviews that his larger point was to build a system that encourages optimism in the human experiment. That in life, we try to do good, we fail, and we try again. In the movie this same thing is true. Renton and Hannah strive to figure this thing out. They struggle they fail, the try again, and make some progress and fail again. It matches Tony Elliott’s view of the world and human nature. So in this theory, there is real hope, that if Renton was able to get just enough of a message out to himself, that maybe, just maybe they’d be able to get the ARQ out before the police arrive. That they’d be able to kill Cuz and Sonny early enough. That they’d finally be able to push through and turn the corner on this entire enterprise.

ARQ Theory #2 – the ever pessimist theory

And I will tell you right now, this is where I am in this thing. Seriously. Right here in pessimism land. Look, these guys have unwittingly played this scenario out hundreds of thousands of times most likely. Right? This time, they may have made a small lick of progress on the video. Next time? Maybe they fall all the way backwards and spend all nine attempts getting killed back in the bedroom. Hahha. I just don’t think this system is a setup for much optimism. It’s as if Tony Elliott has stood there next to Nietzsche (who also dug this analogy) and said, look at Sisyphus. Have you ever seen such a brilliant picture of determination and brilliance in your life? Nietzsche literally made the argument in one of his books (I’ve long since forgotten which one) that Sisyphus, as he was reaching the top of his hill, in the millisecond, he would have overcome. He would have made it, in spite of the fact that the gods were about to kick the rock back down the hill and force him to bring it back up again for all eternity. Really? This is an optimistic scenario? No.

I not only argue that this experiment is a pessimistic exercise, but I also make the argument that they are never going to solve this problem. There is seriously no way that they are going to overcome the impediments set out in front of them. Just isn’t going to happen. They are caught in this loop until some larger intercessor, that is outside this loop makes something different happen.

ARQ Theory #3 – arq as allegory theory

Or, maybe something else is going on here? Maybe what we are seeing is a modern day interpretation of the Philosopher’s Cave (or Plato’s Cave) being played out before us. Plato gave this analogy, or allegory explaining the role of the Philosopher several thousand years ago. He said, being a philosopher is similar to being chained up in a cave. And these people are being forced to watch shadows on the wall of the cave, and it is these shadows that we see as reality. But actually, the philosopher’s role is to break free from the chains of the cave, to go outside, and return to tell everyone trapped there about the things he has found. Right?

Maybe what Mr. Elliott has given to us is a modern day Philosopher’s Cave. Renton and Hannah are attempting to break from the chains of time, to see beyond the walls of the cave, and return and make a difference by explaining what it is that they are seeing. To wake us up to the realities of life. To move beyond the hum-drum of the daily life. To push on and see things for what they really are. If that is the case, then we really have to hope that someone breaks free just so that we can all wake up to the world we have created for ourselves. The pollution. The disease. The chaos. Cause in the world shown to us in ARQ, we are really going to hate life if this really becomes reality.

ARQ Theory #4 – a simple cautionary tale

And finally, maybe it is simply this… if we continue going on the path we are on (pesticides, global war, corporate greed, etc), we will all be doomed to these failures over and over again. We will have painted ourselves into this terrible corner that we will never get out of. We will be forced to scrap, and tear, and bite and claw over and over again in a Sisyphusian way. This will become our new normal. And it will be ourselves that brought ourselves to this end.

I don’t know. What do you think the movie is all about? Let me know in the comments how wrong I am. Let the arguing begin now. Commence!

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87 Responses

  1. Aaron

    Excellent thoughts as always, Taylor, and I’m psyched you enjoyed the film! I’d love to dive into the philosopher’s cave thing, but I’ve been itching to share my gripes with the movie, so here they are:

    * Who made these rules? If the ARQ was meant to be an energy source and not a time machine, and it became a time machine due to an accident, right? If so, the rules of the loop seem to be awfully sophisticated for a “glitch.”

    * There are some things within the circle that persist across loops and sets of (9) loops, such as the recordings and the folder structure that contains them. How do these things persist even when time resets? Shouldn’t the entire computer reset to the state it was in when the loops first started occurring?

    * Piggybacking on the last point, who made these folders and set up the automatic recordings? The “heroes”?

    * The world outside the loops seems to loop with them, even though it should be on a linear time path and would be moving on without the people inside the circle. Example: From what I could tell, that robot bursts in the door at the end of every loop. If (and this is definitely and “if”) we can assume the robot came from outside the circle on its way to attack the house, then it would get out of sync with the happenings inside the circle after a single loop. Another example is that the stuff playing on the tv is the same every time, but that info is coming from outside the circle.

    THAT BEING SAID, I enjoyed the movie. But THAT being said, those are my gripes.

    • Steve


      I struggled with some of the same issues. If time was linear outside the circle, then every call being made by Sonny would have gone through and Torus would have pretty much been on top of the situation pretty quickly.

    • nono

      As the radio messages, that call out the robots, someday there will be no more robots? the corporation will just start to question were all those boots went :) as the reboot in time destroy what come from outside the area ?.. Could this time bubble preserve human race for 10000 years

      • Owen

        I didn’t understand the end, why did she wake but he didn’t? The arq was running so they should have both woke tye same here ime like before, what am i missing or not seeing?

      • Taylor Holmes

        Well, the rules as stated by the narrative about memory were that the one that is closest to the ARQ remembers fastest (least loops). I assumed that after this last loop of 9 that she was the one standing directly next to the ARQ… no? Rusty on the details already.

    • John

      It all seemed kind of pointless though because if time was only looping inside the perimeter and it had been going on for thousands if not millions of cycles then by that time the unless the world came to their senses and stopped fighting and came together the world would have been a dead waste land, everything they believe going on outside long over.

  2. Ben

    This is the first article I have read of yours but won’t be the last. I thought ARQ was a great bit of television.

    Your pessimism theory intrigued me. All I wanted to add was that at the very close for, what I believe, was the first time Hannah wakes up before Renton, possibly suggesting this time round things could well turn out differently. I have to cling to hope.

    Thanks again. Great stuff.

    • Taylor Holmes

      Welcome to the party Ben… we are all glad you are here. Right everyone? RIGHT EVERYONE? good. hahah. Seriously though, thanks for saying hello. And yeah, it was really quite fun. Wish everything was half this good. Kudos to Netflix for making it happen.

      And to the rest of the commenters (Aaron & Steve specifically) yeah, there were a number of things that I totally didn’t buy straight out, but figured we could go over them here. Like how the gas cleared so quickly? Eh? And yeah, wouldn’t a time flux of about 300 feet rip the cosmos to shreds? Calls into and out of the circle, wouldn’t the calls go back in time… or if the calls went forward in time, wouldn’t they arrive late even if only minutes after? Great catches all.

      • Thomas

        Hi there, first time around here and really enjoying all this.
        Like to think about all this, but can never think about all the things you come up with.
        So I read the thoughts of others which intrigues me!
        When i read your comment, I was thinking: If time just goes on outside the circle, and Sonny keeps calling in voor ZMP and the loop starts again. That would mean that the call is never send, but outside the circle it is still send? Wouldn’t that be like a paradox?

    • Morticia

      That’s it! The end wasn’t syncing for me, but as usual, I was trying to overcomplicate it. It’s that simple, Ben, as you say: the end means they changed something. The fact that Hannah awoke first means the story arc shifted, and that does bring, albeit somewhat late for me since I had to read here to figure it out, hope. At least now I can sleep! Thanks

  3. Alas

    Ben exactly! After 9 recursive loops their memories reset, yet at the end Hannah wakes up abruptly implying that she retained her memories on the new set of 9. What was different? Not sure what Hannah did other than eat robot fist…to make her remember past the memory wipe.

    • Taylor Holmes

      Personally though, I would say that the rules require her to actually remember nothing even though she sat up abruptly. OH MY GOSH, WHAT A TERRIBLE DREAM. Oh Renny… I’d forgotten we were together last night. I had the worst dream.

      But you are right. This is a great piece of evidence to support someone (who is still wrong) that believes in the optimist view of the movie! hahah. Good catch.

      • Ashay

        Well, I thought about rule 7 not being a rule but an outcome. It also supports the Optimist Theory (Elliott would be so glad). Consider the following scenario with modified rules:

        7. The ARQ Loops n times, and then resets when it is powered down and restarted (or maybe when it is overloaded. We see it spinning faster with every subloop and getting out of control is a distinct possibility).
        8. Upon reset their memories are wiped for all prior loops except the main ARQ console that stores logs, videos, etc. on disk.

        So when we see the ARQ resetting after 9 loops it might be because it was shut down every 9th subloop by Ren and the course of events in the set of 9 subloops would have been more or less similar to those shown in the movie. Now IF Ren stops the ARQ from shutting down in a further iteration it MAY follow a 10th subloop where they can overpower Sonny and Cuz. This might happen because of incremental changes in the persistent video or because of Hannah waking up with her memory intact (count me in on the optimist brigade).

        Anyways, the drones (they were drones, right?) were outside the perimeter and should have arrived on the first instance of Sonny contacting them but I choose to overlook the boundary condition (prevents my mind from explosion).

        And by the way, did anyone notice that HANNAH is a palindrome ;)

      • BemusedBear

        This is a great point and exactly what I was thinking. It is important to remember that what the character’s say as the rule isn’t necessarily the actual rule.

        I don’t think its set at 9 loops because 9 is a magic number, it is whatever loop they happen to get to the shutdown and restart.

        Also, I don’t think its the closer/farther thing for the memory. Hannah first becomes aware of the loop when she is touching Renton when he dies and Sunny becomes aware after dying when Renton is touching him (electric knuckles to the face). Unclear on the last dude as we don’t get a clear view of Sunny shooting him.

    • Sergio Ct

      The movie start’s with Renton waking up abruptly after 9 loops, and he doesn’t remember anything, so she would’t have to know anything. :/

  4. Subduedjoy

    Yes. Alas is correct. Hannah remembers. She will tell Renton to watch the video he made at the end of the last loop. He will take the ARC to the Block and trust her because his message to himself was to do exactly that. The movie didn’t show the last loop in which they get the ARC for the Bloc because it would have been boring. We don’t need to see it. All we need to know is that Hannah remembers. Why does Hannah remember? Because the more times the sequence of loops plays out, the easier it is for the players to remember and the further they progress. That’s why Renton is able to get the full message out to himself at the end of the last sequence. I thought they would have figured out that they had been through a lot more loops than they had initially thought they had been through once they had gotten outside and saw beyond the circle. In regard to pessimism and optimism, Renton was the pessimist and Hannah was the optimist; however, in the end, Renton become an optimist too.

    • Sergio Ct

      The movie start’s with Renton waking up abruptly after 9 loops, and he doesn’t remember anything, so she would’t have to know anything. :/

  5. Crake

    To loop back (sorry couldn’t help myself) on the issue with the outside world continuing on in a linear fashion. There was a scene in one of the loops where Hannah tells father that they scared her because they were 4 hours early. If the outside time runs in a linear fashion than only once could they have arrived, their timing would have gotten them fortuitously stuck in the loop, which is fine since the electrocution was the cause of the loop. But, the superiors for Cuz and Sonny would have lost them since they have been in for possibly hundreds of thousands of loops. The amount of time that has passed in the outside world would be huge. 3 hours X 9 loops = 27 hours, each recursive loop is more than a day in the outside, and thousands of days passed would mean the world could be very much more destroyed, or at peace. Therefore the ARQ would not matter at that point, at least not as a weapon. But maybe I am in the pessimist or would that make me an optimist.

    Either way, entertaining movie and comments.

  6. Aaron

    There’s an interesting Radiolab about a woman who’s short term memory keeps resetting every time it loops, /)3 does the exact same thing. If this is how humans work (deterministic), then I suppose they’d make zero progress and their loop inside the circle would repeat forever, or until outside intervened.

    • Taylor

      Aaron I think we were separated at birth. That is a fantastic radiolab. Literally she was asking the exact same thing over and over and over again and her daughter humored her because she literally couldn’t help it. If you want to jump straight to the video they discuss in that episode watch this: (Don’t get me wrong the whole episode is amazing)

      Which is possibly the world’s greatest proof of the iron clad grip of the deterministic overlord setting the entire universe on track and walking away there is. And yet, I believe in free will. Bah. Great radiolab call there Aaron. Definitely an a-bomb into the center of this discussion.

  7. LeveRage

    To make an argument for the opitmist theory…

    In order for the pessimist theory to be true, than Renton and Hannah would have to fail an infinite number of times. In order for the optimist theory to be true, they only need to succeed ONE time. So even if progress is slow, and chances are extraordinarilly small….if their chances are a non-zero number (and I’ve got to believe they are) than they will eventually prevail.

    The external world going on in a linear fashion point is an interesting one, but everything else is so well thought out in this movie, I find it hard to believe there isn’t a logical answer here (not that I have a good explanation at this time)…but maybe I say this because I’m an optimist :)

    • Taylor

      Great reductive logic leverage. But you under estimate the power of the pessimist side… Hahahah. Seriously, did you watch that radiolab video I posted? It’s surreal.

      But yes, you have a valid point… It only takes one.

  8. AP

    First time reader – great write up, I love your style. I keep coming back to that moment they are outside. Was the world they saw different? We don’t really know because this is the first time we are seeing it. At least at ground level they didn’t have a “this wasn’t here yesterday” moment, but the camera pans out to show the thoroughly ravaged landscape – perhaps outside their view? Also is it me, or is Ren totally bogarting that mask? :)

    • Taylor Holmes

      Thanks for swingin by AP…
      Don’t be a stranger. And as for the mask??? What mask? Sorry, I should be picking up what you are putting down, but, alas, I am not.


      • Simon Levesque

        When getting out of the house, they were sharing a mask. When they got near the boundary, they stopped coughing and stopped sharing the mask.

  9. Evan

    It seems so basic but I didn’t expressly see it in the article or comments. I noticed that the time loop, if looked at from an hours/minutes/seconds perspective is 3:14:15 aka Pi, a perfect loop.

    • Taylor Holmes

      Daggum. Well played Evan, it was right there in front of me. PI.

      Everyone, Evan wins the comment of the day award. What does he win everyone? A hug?!? How fantastic! Sorry I don’t have anything better for you. But the insight is appreciated!


    • Taylor Holmes

      Alright… listen here Sarah. When I write this stuff, I’m sitting a dark room and assume no one is going to actually this stuff. So really, the joke is on you for … oh i don’t know. So yeah, I suck at pronouns. I’m always screwing them up.

      Thanks for the tip. Fixing it now.

  10. Dave

    I thought this was a great movie, but the time loop bubble within linear time has been buggin me. The first time Sonny calls Taurus, the corporation would know the location of the Arq regardless of the number of loops. Time outside the loop keeps going right?

    Additionally, what happens to the robot after the loop resets? It probably just vanishes. I propose that Taurus is actually an AI and that it realizes that after one of its robots vanishes the first time, it is dealing with a localized time loop.

    So now I get to have some fun and create a couple rules of my own.

    1. For all intents and purposes an AI is immortal.
    2. While the AI now knows the location of the Arq, it is unable to intervene in a way incongruent with the timeline within the loop without setting off a rift that would destroy the universe :)

    So the AI simply sends in the robot when Sonny calls for it, keeping the timeline intact. And the AI is actually an optimist, from its point of view. Sonny only needs to be successful once to deactivate the loop in order for the AI to obtain the Arq. And with immortality, the AI has all the time in the world to play out each iteration. Renton and Hannah need to come to the realization that they will never get the Arq to the bloc, because Taurus is there waiting for them. They simply need to destroy it and face being captured by the outside world.

  11. Emmett

    your IPA for quine is wrong. you’ve written /kwi:n/, however to immitate this into English spelling, that would read ‘queen’. A more accurate IPA is /kwa͡i:n/ or /kwa͡ɪn/

  12. H Monk

    Why is nobody talking about the glow near her shoulder in the opening few minutes? I’ve searched the internet for anybody mentioning it and haven’t seen any reference to it yet. Sonny also has a glow near his elbow the first time he’s shown calling in for support, at about 49 minutes in.

    After seeing this, I suspected that it was a Torus tracking device or some such, and that Hannah is a traitor, too. It’s never addressed in the movie, though, never acknowledged, and there’s no clue as to what it means, unless I’m missing something.

    Does anyone have thoughts about what this signifies?

    • Taylor Holmes

      That is a great question Monk. I was meaning to talk about that, but totally got overwhelmed by events. What do you think it could be? I assumed in this new world that everyone had one. That it glowed relative to their breathing and heart rate? Like it was an indication that they were alive? Real? Maybe it connects everyone back to some central server or other? Or it’s a tracking device by the state? Interesting. Actually, it’s probably the mark of the beast. hehe.

    • ArcLive

      Did he mention that they put a tracker on her & thats how they got to Renton?

      Yeah, I could not connect the reasoning either & this is great question that I forgot about through the movie.


      Or I am going to go on my theory #2 possibly (so many to chose from, via your perspective).

      Remember, Ren has opportunity to shut the ARQ down & about 3 seconds prior to it.. he is reluctant & aborts before sending the video “trust her”. Was she indeed the reason for all this? Did she ‘send’ Torus?

      I’ll have to watch again to see because it contradicts my previous theory below that this movie was based on HOPE

  13. Amaury

    A point for the optimist theory :

    Renton and Hannah “meet” the outside world at the end of the movie. They don’t make any comment on the fact that the landscape has changed, which means it has not yet changed.

    Now, if you see it on the pessimist point of view, they will do the same for a long time.

    The conflict raging outside is not ment to last long since humanity seems on the brink of extinction. Either humanity disappear or it finds peace. In both case the conflict shouldn’t last more than 100 years.

    If Renton and Hannah are to live the same thing again and again they will eventually do it for 10,000, which is the time for earth to be livable again.

    It means they won’t cough when going outsite and landscape will have changed with green trees.

    They will then come to the conclusion that a lot of time has passed and that their fight is useless since there is no war anymore.

    Deactivating the ARQ should then be easier.

  14. ArcLive

    Thank you for this, just saw this movie last night & was very impressed. Had a lot of depth & layers to it within the enigma. I am going to have to watch it again to catch some of the hidden messages, but IMHO the message was trust. Remember, Renton kept telling her “I dont even know who you are anymore”…& her ‘boyfriend’ did not trust her Evening with Renton. I think it circles back to the 2 main characters….Renton never trusted her really & that is what hampered ‘progress’ or furthering time…because he was stuck in time=bewilderment. He didn’t want to shut the ARQ off, because he had lost hope…..& thats what I think was the underlying message too=HOPE! It was perfect the movie ended with “Trust Her”…

  15. Jonathan

    Where have you all been my entire life?!
    I seriously need more people like everyone in this comments section to interact with daily. No one ever understands me. I am soooo glad I found this community! :)

  16. Auslady

    Wow just finished watching with my hubby and 12 yo step daughter mind blown tend to be an optimist but will have to watch it again

  17. Jack Eternal

    First time reader on here . I will definitely read some more articles , especially on Synchronicity . Just this movie and been scratching my head and found your article . You have explained many points I agree with . There is one thing nobody seems to have gotten it or maybe its just me who sees it that way. The ARQ is a time machine and only the ones inside the line/arc, which we see later, can retain the memories . In other words Renton , Hannah and the others were the only ones who could’ve remembered whats happening . Sort of like Edge of Tomorrow , the alien blood was sprawled over Tom Cruise so only he had the power right ? In the same manner Cuz getting electrocuted makes all of them inside that line caught up in a time loop and only makes them remember whats going on. That line is the reach of the ARQ machine ,in terms of memory , not time. In short if you step out of that line and time resets again , you would not have those memories. You will be in that time loop like everyone else besides Tom Cruise . I hope I have explained it properly.

  18. Shane

    Couple of points don’t make sense in this movie.
    They figure out they’ve actually looped thousands of times, and then they figure out that the time loop only effects a small area around the house.

    So say its a thousand loops at 3:15 hours, that’s at least 135 days everyone outside the loop perimeter has continued to age, carry on with normal life etc. so effectively they wouldn’t even know what’s going on with the outside world anymore, torus could have won already, blah blah.

    But surely someone on the outside would of noticed the house in that time, especially since sonny radios out to torus, and they send a robot in. The guys at torus who got radio’d would remember even after they looped they’d be outside the loop perimiter? So nextime they could just send in their own guys or bomb the house as they have the knowledge of the location. Or am I missing something here? Loved the film, loved the concept, kinda felt like they won’t do a second one the way it ended and just leaves so many questions unanswered.

    • David

      I had the same thoughts as you!

      I was thinking perhaps it has something to do with relativity. We know that time can be experienced to behave differently by different people under certain circumstances, but happen simultaneously on the main timeline. The circumstance in this case being the ARQ time loop.

      The time bubble perimeter may signify the area which experiences time in the resultant way (looping time). From the perspective of the people within the perimeter, they experience about 3 hours of “main timeline” time before being sent back 3 hours to the same point on the main timeline. Everything outside the time circle (Torus, Bloc, The War) is in a state of uncertainty, relative to them on the inside.

      From the perspective of the people outside the perimeter, they experience the 3 hours of “main timeline” time as whatever resolution Hannah and Renton came to during the time loop. This could explain why Sonny is able to radio Torus so many times without a changing effect. Since they are both experiencing the same 3 hours of “main timeline” time, In Sonny’s experience he could have radioed millions of times. However to Torus, he only radioed once in the 3 hours of “main timeline” time. Think of it like Schrodinger’s Cat; the Cat being the time loop.

      This is a bit sketchy but I have found closure with these thoughts!

      • Simon Levesque

        Thanks. That would make sense since if the time would have continued linearly from outside the circle that would implies:
        – The multiple radio calls would have been a red flag for the people outside the circle
        – The land changed a lot since years have passed
        – Sometimes, it would be the night outside
        – If the land changed, why would Ren tells to get the ARC to the bloc since the bloc might not exists and if it still existed, a time machine with a small area would not be useful to win a war that goes beyond it

        That is all starting to make sense :)

    • James

      Great comments on the ARQ movie that fittingly finished still looping leaving the audience in recursive commentary.

      The 9 loops were in order not as per computer readout, which could have been manipulated by the program, an external or an unmentioned party, but by the memories of the protagonists from previous loops that effected action in subsequent loops.

      If the loops within the ARQ return all parties to the start of the recursive event then they are acting out alternative realities within the same time span.. so each reset deletes their actions and returns them to start of the event… So how do they retain memories of actions that did not or have not taken place?

      I guess I’m going to have to watch again to check a few things, but what confused me was that the last loop was IMO the loop that was seen on the previous recording as there was both blood on his face a bullet hole on the glass board.

      If true that turns the premise that all loops are consecutive on its head as the odds of same blood spray on his face as he records same message with bullet hole occurring in 2 different loops is zero

  19. Confused

    Explained perfectly! A couple of things I need answers to though.

    1. What happens to the robot at the end? It crossed the perimeter and was in the house.
    2. If they can only loop and remember only for 9 loops, why did the girl wake up at the end and remembered the last loop and Renton didn’t? (this one has been bothering me.)
    3. If time started to loop when “Cuz” touched the ARQ, how come it didn’t “re-loop” when Renton smashed Sonny’s face on the ARQ?

  20. Asif Khan

    I think that showing the clocks speed up means that the actual 9 loop arc was not really 27 hrs, more like 27 seconds….yes, time dilation is most likely making everyone’s perception of time highly relative.

  21. Tom

    When Sonny started to remember, he brought in a 4th member to the party who was somehow at the house and ready to go by 6:16 am whenever the loop started from. Just when did he get this 6th member of the team? And then at 6:16 they were all ready to go (all 4 of them) apparently completely unaware of any discontinuity.

    • Lekan

      that was the individual who touched the ARQ to begin with,the person who started the time loop

  22. Josh Donaldson

    I love this movie! I’m Josh from Phoenix Arizona and I’ve enjoyed reading all the comments!

  23. Lekan Kilo

    1. If they can only loop and remember only for 9 loops, why did the girl wake up at the end and remembered the last loop and Renton didn’t? (this one has been bothering me. I think this was 2 out of 9 for the girl, the director just wanted to show she was the one remembering.
    3. If time started to loop when “Cuz” touched the ARQ, how come it didn’t “re-loop” when Renton smashed Sonny’s face on the ARQ? Even if it did, the larger loop that happened earlier would have reset it

  24. Lekan

    Time moves much faster in the loop, if they keep relooping, there would come a time where the point beyond the boundry looks completely different. There would be no radio signal that would come through. They would be no robot. It would take alot of loops though.

  25. Railly12

    1. How could Sonny stop his guy from touching the arq in some iterations if the time loop starts after he’s already touched it?
    2. What about the piece of paper with the word “sky” on it, or the equations on the magic whiteboard? I assume they were failed attempts from prior loops and I guess The board was preserved because it was connected to the arq, but I still don’t get the scrap of paper.
    3. Why did Sonny pile the bodies like that and go to die in the corner… was it so they’d be electrocuted by the pool of blood?

  26. Dani

    I dont think it works as a time machine more like a temporal pocket dimension. Meaning that anything that reaches beyond the boundary is connected to that moment in time not the present time outside the boundary. i.e. the calls made or news reports. Also I believe if they had crossed the line they would be in the present time from their perspective not the actual time. Like the mirror world In Dr strange

  27. Shawn

    Good movie, but a few things dont make sense.

    1. Once they learn they can save a video to send to themselves, why try to record the exact same message again? IE why not say “check the error logs” That way when Renton finds the video in an early loop they have more time to plan, rather than waiting until the last second to find the 9 loop cycle.

    2. The movie would have been better if A. they didnt show the bubble around the house, or B the cast acted amazed when they went out side. IE the time loop effects everyone, or the outside world continues as normal and years have gone by. (but then it makes no sense about the robot etc).

    3. Hannah wakes up first. Does this mean she remembers, or is it just showing us that each cycle of 9 has variations. So this time she wakes up first.

    4. How the hell can Sunny save Cuzz. The time loop started when Cuzz touched the machine and killed himself. Therefor,e if sunny saves Cuzz, there would be no loop. Every loop starts after Cuzz is dead. Unless Cuzz didnt start the loop?

    5. If the loop does not effect the outside world, then I find it hard to believe they never once decided to stay outside the bubble in the thousands of possibly outcomes.

    Final thoughts.
    I liked the movie, and I am going to assume Hannah remembers something at the end and there is a happy outcome.

  28. Devin

    Maybe these thousands and thousands of instance all played out in a matter of seconds instead of days or years? And that’s why the state of the outside world is the same.
    And maybe the Arq does only loop the direct vicinity but maybe also effects the outside world when it effects the loop area, hence the radio calls and stuff

  29. Denise

    What an awesome blog! I love all the insights from you and in the comments – Pi, how cool is that? And thank you for your ending theories – made for some really great conversation here after watching.

  30. Erin

    I’m back! After seeing The Arrival by myself, finding you, and then watching ARQ, finding you again, I believe you have a new fan. :) I actually really enjoyed this movie.

    It seems like Hannah woke up at the end with a memory of the last loop, but I kind of think Ren will have forgotten. But will Sonny???

    • Taylor Holmes

      Welcome back Erin! Hahaha.
      Don’t leave it to the google gods – bookmark my site dang it! And then watch what I’m watching (and recommend movies for me to watch) so that we can keep the dialogue going, debating, and conversing!

      For example – I just published a review and walk through of a wicked cool mavie called If There’s A Hell Below that I’d love your guys’ take on!!

      Until next time Erin!

  31. Brett

    the loop starts when Cuz touches the arq but later when Sonny becomes aware he stops Cuz from touching it therefore not starting another loop but allowing time to flow naturallyish but as time goes on the arq becomes more unstable and so does time as we saw when Rin went back to the bed room and time was spedding up thought those two instances may have effect on each other.

  32. Nikolai

    I’m so intrigued by this blog! It’s really eye opening when it’s put in perspective. I have a question that I would like to get an opinion on:

    Who you would think is the Administrator (master controller) of ARQ’s program? (The one who’s responsible for maintenance and unloading the memory.)

    We know Renton is the innovator behind ARQ and that it was designed at Torus. Although, do you think that Renton built this device himself or was he helped by other programmers-engineers at Torus?

    Excuse me if I may be missing vital information, but if the Torus Corporation wanted the ARQ back, how would that be possible?

    Long story short, here’s a couple trying to balance the good in their way. As the story concludes, they ended up trusting each other again. The love is restored, great! Then, in the middle of their love affair you have the ARQ. That’s where it gets tricky.

    Keep in mind that Renton seemed to be a free thinker, but his girlfriend, Hannah, wants to absolutely make sure that it’s safely in the hands of Bloc.

    Just think about that and let it be something to ponder on…

    Now, here’s my honest opinion. Since the Torus Coporation sets out to retrieve the ARQ , it has come to my belief that it seems physically impossible.

    Impossible, how?

    Just to refresh our memories:
    Here you have the couple bonded together – a bond that cannot be broken. It’s safe to say since they been through more than a thousand of loops and the truth began to unravel. They both, indefinitely, set out to keep it away from the Torus Corporation. So, Renton agrees with Hannah to take it to the Bloc when it became more of a realization to him.

    The way I see this story progress from there:

    This is my only theory. Hannah only goes because Renton said he’s willingly to be the one to sacrifice his life to fend off the ZMP’s. That would somehow buy Hannah sometime to make a break for it, along with the ARQ. This would be one hell of a miracle. Again, that depends on how far they’re located from the Bloc. Renton did say in an excerpt “We let the loop reset. We try again… [Hannah, you were right. We have to try.]”. It seems that they’re willing to loop as many times as possible to get it done. Hypothetically, imagine this was all a reality and you had to save the world. Remove all of the Hollywood exaggerations. Being someone wit that much knowledge, we’d come to our senses in flight or fight. And knowing that we could loop as many times, I’d think most of us would do anything to keep it away from the Torus Corporation. That’s unless you’re a villain.

    There were things that didn’t make sense. I realized that the description of the movie says they’re trapped in a “lab”. Rather, they seem to be more in a house. Do a retake of the movie and pan over around 1:18 when the camera does a sky view, as it shows the devistation surrounding them. It looks a residential area! Unless the garage is his lab? That bit confused me.

    Most importantly, why is that the ZMP’s come right when Renton saves the video? There journey was replicated thousands of times, but they only remember 9 cycles. It’s rather odd and it sends a message that someone else is the Administrator. It’s as if the Admin wants to end their memory from that point on. I don’t see how it could be the ARQ itself since the couple manages to beat time and learn to cheat death at every cycle. There’s a mystery at large!

  33. Joe

    How did the two get the 5 minutes alone to begin with? Hannah had to have mentioned the apples that no one else has power to grow. So she fakes not remembering like the gal in the movie time-lapse in order to achieve her goal and fails? Was that in the 9 loops? I didn’t count. Good fake acting if she ‘realized’ for us later. Otherwise a different loop we did not see happened? He fed her apples while they played doctor?
    If it’s a glitch, and a recursive function writing over the same RAM space… There could be chaos… hope?
    Pi is always ’rounded off’ eventually in a computer… So the fossilized line around the house is maybe fuzzy space affected by the time bubble differently?
    Science shmience… Who knows what when and why, is what I want to know… Like in the movie Primer.
    Ow, my brain…

  34. Bobby

    Great concept and great movie. I’m so glad I found this post so, thanks Taylor! I’ve found one question that was repeated and is understandably confusing.

    Why did she wake up first?
    To my understanding, if there’s 9 loops of keeping memory then it’s per individual’s cycle. So, and keep in mind that, it was on the 5th loop of Renton’s current cycle that Hannah became aware – which would make it the second loop of her cycle (the first loop being the one she has memories of).

    According to this logic:
    On Renton’s 9th and final loop before his new cycle begins, and memory resets, Hannah would have 3 more loops before her next cycle to try to win the war. Yet, this would also mean the guy with the gun is also in the game. By the way you can call me a pessimist because my money is on him.

    • Owen

      She woke up first because she was farther away from the machine. This could mean that they never escape because she doesn’t know how the machine works. Only Renton does. Only he knows about the logs and how to shut it down. Unless they die and it resets with him farthest away, will they have a chance.

  35. brad

    I think the ultimate ending would be something similar to an outer limits episode. They break the loop to find that the ecological damage has healed itself (pope mentioned 10,000 years) but find that they are alone in the new earth.

    • Taylor Holmes

      Great alternative ending. Very cool actually. I do think there is something poetic about almost breaking out of the loop but not quite. Which, to me, seems to indicate they never will. Always on the brink of it, always almost there. But as far as “successful” endings go, your idea would be satisfying, until you realized the consequence of your “success”. Thanks for swinging by Brad.


  36. ARQ Core System

    Alternative, somewhat dark theory: there is no time loop at all. The ARQ has some kind of AI that goes rogue when Cuzz touches it, causing it to copy the bubble to its memory, and all the loops are actually computer simulations that take place inside the ARQ’s core. The simulation has to reset after 3 something hours because it runs out of RAM, and after 9 loops because it runs out of disk space for the “player’s” memories. I need to think about it some more, but it’s definitely food for thought

  37. EL Ritter

    I love reading your reviews and the discussions, here! No one in my house enjoys movies of this sort.

    • Taylor Holmes

      Birds of a feather…
      Totally agree. I built the site to create a support group for my weird movie predilections! hahaha.

      Thanks for swinging by.

  38. Mitch

    A little late to the party, but I’ve put something together I’d like to get input on.
    Ignoring a few other loopholes (or would this be holes in the loop), there’s the petrified ring. It’s not a boundary. If it were, it would have faded into the landscape. Instead, it’s a firm line in the sand, so to speak. I think that this is the only place where time is moving. The bubble they’re in causes a ripple out which bounces back. That’s where the ripple comes back and touches the bubble when it reforms.
    You drop a pebble in a circular pool, dead center. The ripples come back inward after reaching the end. But, drop another pebble at the same time they move inward, and the cancel. Since the recursive loop is an odd number, it always comes back in on itself to reset completely.
    Now, if that were true, it would explain why time speeds up. The ripples get bigger since the energy of the ripples never fully dissipates, but grows from previous ripples. Once you run out of pebbles large enough to stop the tide you’ve created…
    This all means that the entire world is stuck, too. Hence the news, the VMP (virtual military police, maybe?), and the lack of damage beyond the boundary from the time shift.
    Let that sink in while we move on to one more part. Hannah mentioned that nothing happened, at one point, after Renton’s death. She was awake during a loop burst and sent back. But, she experiences a moment out of time, then. Couple that with there only being one movie made showing a message, and you have the key. That movie always survives? If so, there’d be thousands. There’s only one. She caused something in the previous recursive set that allowed a video in the first place. This caused her to begin to shift out of the new timeline, which is why she has that moment of nothingness, and is why she wakes up first. She’s been freed, mentally, from the loops.
    The movie starts because she changed the loop. It ends because she’s broken it.

    That’s all I’ve got.

    Also, awesome thread. Bookmarked and I _will_ be reading many more.

  39. De Advocate

    I really liked going along for the ride on this one!
    Just three things kept bothering me throughout…
    1) Tom Cruise, I mean Renton, I mean Robbie Amell, no wait. Tom Cruise.
    2) Edge of Tomorrow
    2) Oblivion
    But I did really enjoy this film!

  40. Ari

    Enjoyed the movie. Well balanced story-telling and mind-twisting and emotion-pulling. Here are some non-gripes but loose ends that I preferred to have been handled in the movie.

    Theory-related realizations
    1. Each loop would have spun off a different time line.
    2. The time loop bubble wasn’t presented ‘coherently’. The interaction of outside and inside elements should have been more explicit or obvious than was shown.
    3. If the code is being executed in real time then he should change the memory wipe. The rule/s for who gets to keep their memory (proximity to the ARQ as an analog determination, deja vu) after each loop doesn’t make sense if the memory wipe is in the code (would have a binary/digital determination, either you remember or you don’t) and not an inherent attribute of the ARQ time loop.

    1. Who wrote ‘SKY’ on the piece of paper? Why was it in his mouth?
    2. Why did she wake up first?
    3. Why could they breathe the air outside normally after a bit of coughing?

    There might be more stuff in the director’s cut.

  41. Manda

    Time loops aside. The names… Father, Brother, Son, Cuz. And Renton backwards is Not ner (NER – named entity recognition). So Renton is potentially not named. Could it be that Hannah never escaped and her torture continues? Maybe her name reflects the fact that she is the only one caught in this time loop and the other players are computer generated characters. Maybe the torture has been going on so long that she is the only human left on earth. At least it shows that the program intended to break her doesn’t work – after thousands of loops she remains true to her cause. When Renton finally trusts her and agrees she’s right, this interrupts the program written to torment her and she is finally able to wake up. Renton stays asleep because the program is completed. She is free.

  42. Athena

    Fascinating comments!
    I wonder though, about the connections to the outside world… is it possible that the world really has been completely destroyed and that Toros is actually run by AI – that Sonny’s call for backup is thought to be with real people but it’s not really? And is it possible that one of the ways to solve this is to get Hannah to that safe house so that they can realize that humanity has been destroyed and that they’re the only ones left? Which, if that’s the case, there really is no Bloc to bring the ARQ to and there’s no hope at all. So I wonder if they’re destined to be stuck in their own little hell for eternity because if they break the loop, what would it mean anyway?

  43. Mirkadrem

    Peels help to escape from of all old changes of the skin layer. exfoliation effective at any age, recommended for skin of any species. After light peeling disappear minor wrinkles, epidermis becomes smooth, without wrinkles. Regeneration – 3 days. deeper peeling efficiently copes wrinkles (expression, age, smoothing minor scars, removes spots.
    Adaptation – 7 days. Profound peeling doing in the beauty hospitals. This is very effective operation, but requires long period rehabilitation – up to four weeks.
    light chemical peel before and after

  44. Luke

    Another great taylorholmes recommendation, loved it. I haven’t had the chance to read all the comments but the one things that sticks in my memory is the paper with “sky” written on it the the dead guys mouth. I don’t understand how it got there and what it means. I know it’s the shutdown code so it seemed like a message telling them to just give up and just shut it down. But it’s not like you could paper on his mouth on a previous loop and then it would still be there in a later loop right. Why would they need to write it down when would remember the word sky anyway, at least in the whole 9 loop series thing. Was it in his mouth when he was alive to? It’s such a stupid little moment and I’m probably just missing the super obvious explanation but it’s driving me nuts.

  45. L

    This is the first movie review I read and I’m impressed!

    The only thing I didn’t like is how you get the “9 loops in sequence” wrong. They are not always 9! It’s when Sonney power-offs the ARQ when the sequence ends. So they just need to succeed before he remembers and fucks them over. The video is VERY helpful! In the next sequence, our guys will see the video, know to work together and not kill each other and succeed way before the 9th loop.

  46. scott biales

    I’m shocked how no one has mentioned the significance of the start and end times for the time loop. The difference in time is the constant pi:

    start> 06:11:06:03 end> 09:25:21:09 complete

    09:25:21:09 – 06:11:06:03 = 3:14:15: 6. -> 3.14159 = pi (to the first 6 digits).

    The significance of the time values being equal to pi is that time here is circular.

  47. Kyle M

    I’m surprised no one explicitly brought up Nietzsche’s “The Heaviest Burden” which is even referenced in the movie by the Pope.

    It feels pessimistic but I feel like this reference is alluding to the loop in the movie going on infinitely.

    “The Heaviest Burden.

    What if a demon crept after you into your loneliest loneliness some day or night, and said to you: “This life, as you live it at present, and have lived it, you must live it once more, and also innumerable times; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and every sigh, and all the unspeakably small and great in thy life must come to you again, and all in the same series and sequence – and similarly this spider and this moonlight among the trees, and similarly this moment, and I myself. The eternal sand-glass of existence will ever be turned once more, and you with it, you speck of dust!” – Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth, and curse the demon that so spoke? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment in which you would answer him: “You are a God, and never did I hear anything so divine!” If that thought acquired power over you as you are, it would transform you, and perhaps crush you; the question with regard to all and everything: “Do you want this once more, and also for innumerable times?” would lie as the heaviest burden upon your activity! Or, how would you have to become favourably inclined to yourself and to life, so as to long for nothing more ardently than for this last eternal sanctioning and sealing?”


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