Possible Worlds Movie Recommendation and Explanation
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Possible Worlds Movie Recommendation and Explanation. First, Possible Worlds is a methodology in philosophy and logic for explaining either possible realities or even actual existent realities in parallel universes. Knowing that, you already have to know that this movie is going to those of you that like a more complicated cinematic experience. So, if you are hoping for some popcorn fodder? This is not that film. But, for normal THiNC. readers and fans… this is the movie for you. You will enjoy this clever little mindjob of a film. I promise.
Gotta first give a shout out to Gastroschisis. This guy appears in my life out of nowhere. He’s been reading THiNC. for the last few years, but joined us out on the Patreon Discord server and dropped some fantastic movie recommendations on me out of the blue… including Possible Worlds. (Maybe, if you guys join us over on Patreon, you can see the rest of the list! hahaha. (or just keep reading here… I’m sure I’ll highlight a couple more.)) Alright enough about my new best friend… let’s check out the trailer and get to talking about this one.
Possible Worlds Movie Recommendation and Explanation
First though – if you’ve been lurking, hiding out, not commenting in the comments, not bringing your A-Game here on THiNC. let the Gastroschisis story inspire you. Come join us on Patreon, join us on the Dischord, chat in the comments, and bring the movies that you aren’t seeing us discussing here on the site. I’m always looking for crazy new films that will push us to THiNC… to grapple with the film, and cause us to learn something.
“Alright, stop talking guy. Do the movie thing!” Got it. Alright, so I’ve got like 5 pages of notes on this one… like single spaced. And I’m only planning to give you something like 20% of that craziness. You are welcome. The movie opens with a murder. And a weird murder at that – there is a guy missing his brain. Wait, what? Yeah, literally, his brain and spinal column are completely gone. (Now, to doctors and surgeons reading this – I’d like to know if it’s physically possible to pull someone’s brain and spinal column from the skull cap?) Seems implausible. I mean, everything I know about this equation comes from cracking crabs. So yeah, maybe it’s possible. Who knows. So, as the movie starts, we learn that people are being murdered, and their brains are going missing.
At about the same time we begin watching as George (Tom McCamus) begins a really bizarre, and obsessive relationship with a woman named Joyce (Tilda Swinton). But the weird thing about this relationship is that every time George interacts with Joyce, she’s different. At one moment, she is a hardworking scientist researching the brain, and how to increase IQ. At another moment, Joyce is a stockbroker, and she hates her job. The only thing we can count on is that George will constantly be trying his best to finally get an in with her. He’s already memorized every detail about her. No. More than that. He has already memorized every detail of every permutation of her. Her scientist self, her stockbroker self, the self that is interested at another guy at the bar, the self that hates her job, the self that loves her job. All things considered – this guy takes stalking to a whole ‘nother universe. It’s as if Ground Hog Day actually upped its game, and actually tried! It’s a creep factor only bested by the film Passengers, and on that topic, I’ll say no more.
The movie oscillates between two lines, the first is the murder investigation… the second is the murdered guy’s fascination with Joyce. How are both of these realities possible at the same time? Heck, how are all of the various threads possible simultaneously?? Is his murder just one of many of the threads? Or, is he dead? Or is something else going on here? And when the investigator heads to Dr. Kleber’s lab he learns that Kleber has been extracting rat brains, and suspending them in some sort of solution that allows the researcher to notice when the rat is hungry, but not too much else. Eventually, when one of the investigators begins to worry about the rat – and the torture it is feeling – he takes the brain back to Dr. Kleber. When he walks in, he finds Kleber sitting with a human brain in a vat, similar to the rat contraption.
And as the movie wraps up, the doctor goes to jail, and Joyce is informed that her “husband” is still alive… and yet, we watch as George chats with Joyce and the two talk on the beach about a blinking red light that is off in the distance. Joyce even ascertains that it is a signal via Morse code. (Which answers a number of questions simultaneously.) But George does not want to do anything about the person that is probably trapped out there in the water. And when she tells him that the light has stopped, he responds with “Oh, thank God.” The end. WAAHHHT? Hahahah. You’ll be alright, just take a deep breath.
Possible Worlds Movie Explained
We have to start with the film’s title. The Possible Worlds idea:
“A possible world is a complete and consistent way the world is or could have been. They are widely used as a formal device in logic, philosophy, and linguistics in order to provide a semantics for intensional and modal logic.”
So, the idea that there might be a world wherein you never find THiNC. and I sit at home cradling a whiskey because we never meet. Or that there is a version of our world where you don’t learn more than three words. There are infinite possibilities, and therefore, there are infinite worlds expressing each and every possible world. I think the movie made this idea abundantly clear. But where the movie gets convoluted is where it interacts with George. There are probably just as many interpretations of this movie as there are worlds… but I’m going to focus specifically on two.
Possible Worlds Theory #1 – George is Infinite
This was about as simple a diagram as I could make. And yes, it isn’t correct, but you get the idea here. There are infinite possible worlds. And we are focusing mainly on the divergences of Joyce here specifically. In some worlds she ignores him completely. In some worlds they sleep with each other, and she moves on. And others still they date, and eventually marry.
George explains that he is able to de-materialize from one possible world, and re-materialize in another. The question here is, is George’s murder just one possible permutation? Similar to his going to jail for stalking Joyce? It’s just one weird outlier that is possible? Hrmmm. Or maybe something else is going on here.
Possible Worlds Theory #2 – George is not Infinite
The colors here represent reality. The grays represent George’s post vat confusion. At stake here is a simple question: did George transcend parallel worlds, or was he just horribly confused after having his brain excised?
Normally, I wouldn’t even ask this question… it’s pretty obvious what is happening here. George is confused because he’s lacking a body. BUT, seeing as though the entirety of the movie is based around the idea of “Possible Worlds” we either got something horribly wrong here, or it was a massive head fake. Which, I guess wouldn’t be a terrible thing.
If you flip back over to my walkthrough of Mr. Nobody (which is a very very similar movie) we had a similar problem. Mr. Nobody was playing out a million different life options at the end of his life (or maybe the beginning, depending on how you looked at it) and it was just as confusing (no, actually not, it was much worse than this) as this movie.
My Possible Worlds Movie Recommendation and Explanation
There were sections of this movie that were really baffling, but I really enjoyed their inclusion. For instance, the discussion around people dreaming about really lame hopes – as opposed to becoming a flying unicorn, etc. And we saw this play out when George saw the “people” by the shore that only knew three words “Block,” “Slab,” and “Hilarious.” Basically what was happening here was a non-standard permutation of the universe. A world where humans only know three words, and just scrabble around the shore like crabs. And, if you believe in parallel universes, option 1 might be your banner that you will rally to. But as it stands with this movie, and the evidence we are given, it seems like this movie firmly falls in the camp of Jacob’s Ladder, and Stay.
Which doesn’t mean that someone jumping alternate parallel universes isn’t an interesting play for a movie. Look at Coherence! One of the best sci-fi movies of all time, and that is exactly what the show grapples with, fluxing parallel universes. But I think that Possible Worlds sort of took itself out at the knees in that regard by killing the poor guy who was doing the jumping. No, that’s not what happened. George was a normal guy, his wife drowned, and then he met Joyce in a bar, and they got married. Eventually a mad scientist walked into his apartment, and while he was sleeping, stole his brain and spinal column, keeping him “alive” in a vat of fluid. But soon after, George was confused as to who he was. Now, you could effectively argue that it was the out of body (literally) experience that allowed George to begin doing the jumping. That is a reasonable argument I suppose. But I personally think it makes a lot more sense to think that George is dying, and in the the throes of this chaos he thinks he’s experiencing parallel universes, when in fact he’s just been jacked with. No?
Regardless, it was a fun little movie. What did you think of it? And which way do you think the movie is going? I will note that I have been trying to find a video of the play that it was based on, or the script for the play, but have come up dry so far. I’m curious if maybe the play has insights to share with us on this front??
Edited by: CY
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