Closed Box Movie Glasshouse is a Pandemic Mindjob

Closed Box Movie Glasshouse is a Pandemic Mindjob
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Closed Box Movie Glasshouse is a Pandemic Mindjob. Because, guess what?!? You were hoping to study some existential philosophy while being entertained, weren’t you?! I knew it, because you are wicked smart, and love to THiNC. That is so awesome. Right, for those of you that are wondering what the heck just happened – it’s all good. First things first, the movie we are talking about today is an South African movie called Glasshouse. And it is a movie about a global pandemic that wipes the planet out with something called The Shred. A viral disease that destroys the brain, causing the victim to lose their memory. No, this is not a true story… though you might think it is. Here, check it out:

Now, if you go looking for this movie, don’t pick up the 2001 film of the same name. That is an entirely different affair of the mind. So, skip that one, and get the 2020 (or 2021 as I sometimes see its date being… just depends on if it’s talking about the South African release date, or the global release date. I think my international readers will have an easier time finding this one than my American readers… My African and Australian readers can find it over on showmax I believe. For those of you who can’t quite watch it yet, maybe a Rottentomatoes review or two will tide you over til it’s released?

Glasshouse Movie Walkthrough

The end of the world comes in a forgetting causing virus that everyone calls The Shred. As best as we can tell, the shred permeates the world’s air, and makes the infected take on dementia-like symptoms. We don’t know much, because we only know what these few survivors know… and the only things that they know are preserved through ritual, memorization, and ruthless self-protection. This family of women (and one man who is something of a baby, caused by The Shred) go about their days with ruthless efficiency, and no concept of compassion. Our players are Mother (played by Adrienne Pearce) a ruthless order maker, Evie (Anja Talijaard) the rule follower, Bee (Jessica Alexander) – an independent, free thinker – and Daisy (Kitty Harris) the youngest of the bunch. Early on in the film, a Shred-zombie like man is killed at the perimeter of the glasshouse property, and they carve and break him down to feed him to the plants, and use his pieces beginnings to ends. And Gabe (Brent Vermeulen) appears to have been exposed to the Shred (so it’s not contagious once caught apparently) and is rapidly forgetting everything he once knew. But when Bee breaks their community’s rules, and brings home a man (played by Hilton Pelser) she finds in the woods, everything goes fairly pear-shaped.

But why did Bee allow this man in? Because she was anxiously awaiting the return of her brother, Luca. Is this him?

As the movie progresses, this new arrival watches as this weird “family” goes about their day, cleaning clothes, farming, and even digging up recent kills to make imposing warning signs of the danger that trespassers will meet if they venture too close. The film takes on an eerie, otherworldly bizarreness, as a Victorian sensibility is juxtaposed with the macabre. It’s almost as if these wandering Shreds are seeing impossible visions of sirens calling them to their doom. And we know that this is the only green space in a three-day walk, so this is literally an oasis. A cornucopia of delights that are almost too impossible to comprehend. Heck, it’s a wonder for today, let alone in a post-apocalyptic oblivion.

In time, we start to watch as Bee begins to Memento Mori herself… incepting herself, if you will… as she lets this stranger know key details in order for him to step into Luca’s role. Is Bee suffering from a bit of the Shred? Or is she just wanting this new intruder to willingly step into Luca’s old role? Is he remembering the details of living here before? Could that be possible? Or is he just playing along with Bee’s game after all? After attempting to mess with Evie, and convince her that this new Luca might fall for her this time around, the new visitor discovers the memory box that she had been hiding. And after searching through it, he finds Luca’s necklace pendant, the one that he was given at birth. Later he presents it as if he had forgotten what it meant… but had had it all along.

Evie: “Am I the only one that believes the truth matters?
Mother: “Let Bee believe what makes her happy.”
Evie: “Do you trust him?”
Mother: “Trust your Mother to have a plan. After the baby comes, Luca always leaves.”

The trouble? The trees can only create so much oxygen, and when there are too many lungs, it overwhelms the system… so someone will have to go. Mother has determined that the stranger will be the one to go… it is always the stranger that leaves in the end. But as the stranger appeals to Bee for her “happiness” Gabe becomes jealous of the stranger. And eventually Gabe breaks a hole in the glass of their protective structure… attempting to let the Shred in. Unaware of what he’s just done, Mother makes it clear to the stranger that he is going to have to leave, that the Lucas always leave. But the stranger decides he isn’t having it, instead, Mother will be the one to go. Her time of remembering is over… and he strangles her. And after staging her near Gabe’s bed, the stranger frames Gabe for the Mother’s death. And voila, just like that? Regime change. To cap it off, the stranger opens the window, subjecting Gabe to the Shred all over again and sending him into a nearly comatose state. Then, Bee, overcome by Mother’s death, wants very much for Gabe to be the one who killed Mother, but she knows, deep down, that it was the stranger that murdered Mother. In her anguish, Bee asks Evie if it really was Gabe that killed mother, and Evie responds, “I can’t give you the answers. You see what you want to.”

Afterwards, we learn that the stranger is actually immune to the Shred. That he had been watching people close to him fade away from the Shred for years now. And Evie, trying to figure out what has happened to them all… she goes through the remembrance box, and she opens Luca’s items, and sees there the two batteries that we saw earlier when the stranger took the “L” locket earlier. What is the significance of the two batteries? Well, we learn that Bee and Luca had a secret signal that would identify Luca was coming home, but Bee pulled the trigger too soon and she killed her Luca. She realized this when she saw his flashlight… and so she kept the batteries, opened her mask, and forgot that she had killed Luca. Bee knew what she had done, and so she of all people understood that her watching and waiting was just a vain hope – empty and hopeless.

As the movie ends, Bee instates herself as the new Mother… the One Eyed Queen. And the Stranger has become Luca, the One Eyed King. They are in charge of remembering, as Evie, Daisy, and Gabe all have headed out into the great beyond of memories past mentally. Just before the end, Gabe digs up two bodies in the ground, one has an “E” locket, another has a “B” locket. And while on sentinel duty, Luca sees a man come towards the gate with a modern mask on his face. And in that moment, he makes the choice to kill Gabe, and allow this new traveler into the community.

Closed Box Movie Glasshouse is a Pandemic Mindjob

I loved this movie. So good. But I can hear some of you screaming at your phones right now… BUT? WHAT? HOW COULD YOU? I already know that some of you think that the science of this movie is shot to heck. And others of you think it literally makes no sense at all. But that is because you are missing the forest for the trees. This movie is a metaphor – a modern myth – a fable of sorts. It’s a story in line with the bedtime stories that they each tell each other at bedtime. But this story has a lesson to teach us, and also a warning. And also, there is that detail of the movie’s title… the glasshouse. It’s a warning. Those that live in glasshouses shouldn’t throw stones. Right? We all, everyone of us, happen to live in glasshouses. So, be careful who you throw stones at here.

The Movie Glasshouse Explained

This story has been told a hundred times, in a hundred different ways. Definitely my own personal rendition of this movie was Charlie Kaufman’s, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It’s a movie about pain, memory, and the art of intentionally forgetting. Think about this for a moment. Is it better to be a Prince, saddled with the pain of running his kingdom, the memories of his failures, or to be a beggar, outside the Prince’s gates, drunk and stupid… blissfully unaware? The question is literally pointed directly at you. Do you choose to forget? Or do you choose to remember, regardless of how painful those memories are? It’s not a simple question. On the one hand, you are saddled with the memory of failures, mistakes, and wars that have killed your citizenry. On the other hand, you sit in your own filth, drunk out of your mind… completely and totally oblivious to your own stupidity. This same question faces us daily after we have lost a loved one, or done something stupid in a moment of selfishness… do we own that decision? As painful as that might be.

This movie poses this question to us in a novel way. It almost seems like Evie takes the Shred as a tonic… a dose now and again to forget. It’s almost like it’s a drug, here, have a hit… make all the pain go away now… don’t be afraid. Which, isn’t realistic of course. You can see that that glasshouse is leaking like a sieve… there is literally no way that that thing is airtight. I don’t care how much human glue you slap on that thing. (And they only seal it in the spring?!?! Yeah, no. Not so much.) But thankfully, the movie is more a fable than it is a literal post-apocalyptic science fiction film. It’s a movie that is discussing a moral philosophical conundrum. Should we choose ignorant bliss? Or choose painful wisdom?

As horrible as it sounds, it’s only the cognizant that can learn and grow. We watch as Bee manipulates herself throughout the course of the film. Readily forgetting her murderous accidents, and intentionally remaining ignorant of her lover’s death. Bee is Leonard in Memento. She has lied to herself, to choose the less painful path. And it is Evie who sees the manipulation for what it is. A lie. Those that forget are actually incapable of learning from their failings. It’s impossible. You have to see your mistakes for what they are, awful screw-ups, before you can learn from them. Are you the sort of friend that doesn’t listen to gently delivered advice? Or do you internalize it in the hopes of learning and growing? It’s hard though… hearing that you aren’t perfect! Gah! hahaha. But seriously, Bee is incapable of it. Are you more an Evie? Or more a Bee? And obviously, it depends on the topic, and the “friend” delivering the news.

Hylas and the Nymphs by Waterhouse

Also, and this idea is a throw away thought. Do you know what a Siren is? The mythological creature, the beautiful woman of the water that seems to beckon men to their watery demises? Have you ever wondered what a story would look like from a family of Siren’s perspective? I’m guessing it would be the story of Glasshouse. Think about it… the lush greenery was the only green space for days walk. Inside the trees is this gloriously beautiful, Victorian escape from the madness of death-by-virus, and here live these beautiful women. Beautiful gun-wielding women that regularly kill, dismember men, and hack them up for their parts. The Glasshouse is a siren’s song… calling men to their doom. Or maybe it’s a cute story about memories… or something.

My Thoughts on Glasshouse

Overall, I thought the acting was atrocious. HORRIBLE. But, the screenplay so good, the philosophical insights so prime, the ideas here so fantastic? I forgave these guys their acting screw-ups. Also, the setting is fantastic… just a glorious location for post apocalyptic morality tale. I just loved the screenplay, the philosophy, the insights, so very much that it overcame the atrociousness of the acting. It’s more an idea film delving into the concepts of sin, and willful lobotomies in search of forgiveness.

Edited by: CY