Skip

Chronomancy is another type of magic
June 24, 2012 6:05 AM   Subscribe


 
I really thought this was going to be by Armond White.
posted by escabeche at 6:07 AM on June 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


Metafilter: leaving legions of bewildered fans blinded by a false discovery, a pseudo-discovery of themselves as demigods.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 6:09 AM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jack and Jill is better than Prometheus!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:22 AM on June 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


I really dislike Inception, but this got pretty hard to read after a while. Too clever by seventeen halfs.
posted by es_de_bah at 6:27 AM on June 24, 2012 [11 favorites]


Isn't that like saying Family Matters is better than Sabrina the Teenage Witch?

Both are not worth arguing about and both are far enough in the past, that it doesn't really matter?
posted by CarlRossi at 6:28 AM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I haven't seen "Knight and Day" but it's good to see that there's at least one other person out there who feels "Inception" was an overrated unwatchable mound of tripe.
posted by mrbarrett.com at 6:29 AM on June 24, 2012 [11 favorites]


This feels like a "I followed the band back when they played dive bars for free!" iTunes review, only this guy has a thesaurus.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:29 AM on June 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Why My Milkshake is Better Than Yours: An Essay in 79 Parts
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:29 AM on June 24, 2012 [31 favorites]


Oh, man, I really hate Inception. I couldn't even finish it. Knight and Day almost has to be better. Night of the Lepus would be better.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:29 AM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why My Milkshake is Better Than Yours: An Essay in 79 Parts

Does your milkshake bring all the boys to the yard? Don't try to compare until it does.
posted by xingcat at 6:31 AM on June 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Is there a tl;dr of any interest in this?
posted by Artw at 6:34 AM on June 24, 2012


Wow, does this guy need an editor.
posted by goethean at 6:37 AM on June 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


only this guy has a thesaurus.

This guy has, like, 8 thesauruses (thesauri?) and seems determined to use every word in each of them. Jeez. I couldn't finish it either.
posted by fuq at 6:39 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


C'mon! You looked up "copromancy" didn't you? Didn't you? At least to be sure it meant what you thought it meant?
posted by willF at 6:44 AM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


It is a statistically inevitable fact that some % of people will viscerally hate any movie that is generally beloved. So you hated Inception, or The Godfather, or Shawshank Redemption? Good for you, that's your right and the Internet is here to help you find one another. And please, opine away! Don't for a moment hold back on my account.

But can we please make distinctions between whether we enjoyed a movie vs. whether it was a well-made movie vs. whether it was a movie with a noble message vs. whether the movie is historically important? Not that these aren't areas with mutual overlap, but there's a pretty clear line between "critical analysis" and "manic episode in text form," and I could do with rather less of the latter.
posted by belarius at 6:45 AM on June 24, 2012 [42 favorites]


Why Knight and Day is better rhan Inception

To be read in Scooby-Doo's voice.
posted by mazola at 6:46 AM on June 24, 2012 [13 favorites]


Spanglish: noble message, historically important, well made, DID NOT ENJOY IT ! !!!

!
posted by mazola at 6:47 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


As near as I can figure out, it boils down to "Because I figured it out too fast."

I'm not sure why that's particularly relevant, really. If you're familiar with the tropes of the traditional mindfuck genre, then you probably figured out "Inception" just based on the trailer alone. It wasn't a riddle; you don't get the One Ring for getting the answer first.
posted by Scattercat at 6:50 AM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I enjoyed Inception, yet I was keenly aware that I was unlikely to rush out and see it again. I mean, I'm someone who saw The Matrix four times in the first five days it was released. I even saw Starship Troopers three times within a week of its release.*

Yet, this guy bad mouthed The Prestige? He is not to be trusted.

*there is no denying that I need help. In my defense, however, the second and third viewings involved me dragging friends to the theater to witness just how awful Herr Doktor Doogie was.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:50 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Knight and Day would have been just fine, silly over the top plot but that was the point, if there had be a single tiny itsy bit of chemistry between Cruise and whatshername.
posted by sammyo at 6:51 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


been
posted by sammyo at 7:00 AM on June 24, 2012


So you hated [...] Shawshank Redemption?
/me raises hand
posted by Leon at 7:00 AM on June 24, 2012


Nolan is widely hailed as the new Kubrick.

Seriously? Who the hell is saying that?

Hm... after a google search I see that people are indeed saying that... but seemingly only so they can refute it. I enjoyed Inception, but I don't own it or watch it when it comes on HBO. It's not that great.

If anyone might be on Kubrick's level it's Alfonso Cuaron, IMO, but it's obviously too early to tell.

Knight and Day is crap, although if they had just hidden TC's motivations for the whole movie it could have been interesting. At the beginning you're not sure whether he's good or bad, but of course they lay it all out for you early on and then it's just another crappy Hollywood movie.

to witness just how awful Herr Doktor Doogie was.

BLASPHEMY! Starship Troopers is 1000x better than a million Inceptions, and NPH saved the goddamn human race! Would you like to know more?
posted by Huck500 at 7:09 AM on June 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


It's odd to compare a romantic action comedy against a scifi action heist flick, but it's great the the author was able to get that off his chest.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:10 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, of course I've seen the light, huck500, now. Back then, I was more agog that such a movie had even been made. At the time, I mean, yeesh. Only in retrospect has Starship Troopers' greatness been fully pupated.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:25 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I get the feeling that lots of people here are taking this review seriously. And I honestly don't know whether they really are, or this thread is exhibiting a massive, shared irony and I'm not picking up on it.
posted by hanoixan at 7:31 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Having not seen either Knight and Day or Inception I will say that I read through the entire article to get the gist of what this guy wanted to say about these two movies. And I think I found the tl:dr section.
Inception proves to be a movie about the destruction of the self—not of the false self, but the sovereign self. We know at once Mal is a suicide case. She acts like a bored socialite on pills, without even enough impotent anger or sentiment to seem sorry for herself, her lover, or her children. When she does jump, it’s hard to feel for her at all. But Dom will follow Mal into her deadly web of false dreams—for nothing. C’mon! What could it possibly matter? It’s all just a dream, right? He might wake up one day to find he has been Ralph Kramden or Johnny Knoxville all along, and probably forget the whole thing, as these men would do. So who cares? Yet just exactly because of its stunning artifice, Inception states a certain and active intent to draw its audience into despair and absolute hopelessness, into the void of Dom Cobb, paper man. For 140 minutes, Inception tells its audience that they in fact do not exist. One may as well be staring into blank space while the kettle boils down. It is a very bad movie.
And I get it... that seems like it could be a very cogent analysis of why ANY movie could be considered a bad movie, if the movie were to be considered of the "cerebral" type. But, the reviewer's style is far too florid, and it feels like he really enjoys reading his own essays.
posted by Severian at 7:32 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is what happens when a writer has a penchant for big, obscure words but doesn't know how to use them properly or in a readable manner. Of course it doesn't help when he starts with a foregone conclusion and a list of subtle (and not so subtle) insults for anyone who isn't going to agree with it by the time his argument is over (he does eventually make an argument, right? I couldn't slog through the pretentious polysyllabic diarrhea and laughable mixed metaphors long enough to find out)
Did anyone finish this screed and determine whether he ever gets to a point?
posted by rocket88 at 7:36 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed both of them.
posted by straight at 7:39 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Entertaining and Fun vs Portentous and Self-Important"

Physician, heal theyself.
posted by mstokes650 at 7:42 AM on June 24, 2012 [11 favorites]


Milkshake. Now that's a movie.
posted by arcticseal at 7:52 AM on June 24, 2012


I enjoyed both of them.

The article and the thread?
posted by boofidies at 7:54 AM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


MOVIE FACEOFF
Tom Cruise Assassin Shenanigans: Collateral > Knight and Day
Cameron Diaz Assassin Shenanigans: Knight and DayCharlie's Angels
Tom Cruise Comedic Mindfuckery: Tropic Thunder > Knight and Day
Cameron Diaz Comedic Mindfuckery: Being John Malkovich > Knight and Day
Tom Cruise General Mindfuckery: Tropic Thunder > anything > Vanilla SkyEyes Wide Shut
Tom Cruise & Cameron Diaz General Mindfuckery: anything ≥ Knight and Day > Vanilla Sky
Deliberate Car Crash Caused By Protagonist: Collateral > Inception
posted by nicebookrack at 8:01 AM on June 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


Knight and Day is like a classic Hong Kong action movie with its soul ripped out and millions of dollars stuffed into it instead.
posted by fleacircus at 8:03 AM on June 24, 2012 [11 favorites]


What a ridiculous waste of time! I want the 10 minutes I spent on the first sixth of this article back! As far as I could tell by skimming the rest it was all setup, no payoff. Wait! Like Inception!

(which I guessed right away, saw through entirely and STILL enjoyed)
posted by asavage at 8:08 AM on June 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Did I really need three exclamation points? Apparently I need an editor too.
posted by asavage at 8:08 AM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Again, having not seen Inception I wouldn't know... but I have to guess that they didn't have any good props.
posted by Severian at 8:16 AM on June 24, 2012


I read his assertions and disagreed with them. I wish I could do the same regarding The Prestige; Nobody calls that movie "dreadful" without any attempt at explanation and gets away with it, not on my watch.

That movie is very nearly perfect. Objectively speaking, of course.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:21 AM on June 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Nolan does make the same movie over and over again (exception: he's working with some outside material in the Batman movies, but he's still working with a lot of the same themes). Having said that, Inception was the first of the Nolan movies I saw, so it worked for me, in part because he was going over some well-trodden ground that I like. By the time I saw The Prestige, which was the fourth or fifth Nolan movie I saw, the similarities, particularly his treatment of the female characters, had become apparent to me. Inception had less of that problem than previous films, which may be part of its appeal.

Also Nolan has good casts and makes elegant-looking movies, cf all the costuming in Inception as well as making the effects physically instead of with CGI when possible. It wasn't an art-house movie; it was an action movie with a mindfuckery setup.

Knight and Day never even made it onto my Netflix queue. It looked dumb. Maybe that's prejudicial based on the trailers, but it looked like the sort of movie I'd pull out of the DVD player 20 minutes in and send back with the rest unwatched. That was how I felt about the post, too, except I skimmed for about one minute before I gave up with a Cumberbatch-Sherlock "BO-RING!".
posted by immlass at 8:36 AM on June 24, 2012


The second I saw this was from Metaphilm I knew exactly what was going on, and I stayed away.

Nolan and his brother adapted The Prestige really well. When I went to see it, I had just read the book and feared that the inter-textual plot twists would be impossible to reproduce in a film. Surprise! He did it. It was one of the best-adapted movies I've seen, to be sure. Nolan and his people really got what the book was about and were faithful to the spirit of it even in places where they couldn't literally adapt what was on the page.

Off the top of my head I can think of two problems with it. One of them is a spoiler that I will not post here. The other is that two of the female supporting roles were wildly miscast. Though Scarlett Johansson has been effective in some of her onscreen appearances, she shouldn't be allowed to ever play a role where she has to use an accent. And Piper Perabo needs to go back into whatever hole she was hiding in and not come out, ever.

Oh, and the original poster was ugly.
posted by pxe2000 at 8:43 AM on June 24, 2012


If you can bear to read enough of the overwrought prose, it's obvious the whole thing is a joke at the reader's expense:
Knight and Day is unabashedly open about matters of human digestion. Roy’s handy-dandy cellphone plays “Louie, Louie, oh baby, we gotta go” and announces a movement alert on its screen. A moment later and June informs that “. . . all of the best scrap is in Kansas,” which is a contraction of the terms can and ass (from Kansas), and crap (from scrap). We consider this motif another traditional transmission from Kubrick, who was a brazen bathroom bawdy-man, including fine-tuned toilet humor in many of his best productions.
And then there's this:
We invite one attitude that is overlooked by many movie-lovers in earnest. Overlooked because of a common gap in the apprehension of cinematic theory. Here it is: most good movies are at least a little bit about movies themselves, about the special problems and techniques of film-making, about the discreet relationship between the film and its audience.
But of course that's precisely the theme of Inception.
posted by Western Infidels at 9:10 AM on June 24, 2012


That's an awful lot of words just to punk Inception fans with nuance. I don't buy it.

And Kubrick does not really need to be mentioned constantly. Nolan doesn't need a benchmark anymore, if he ever did.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:53 AM on June 24, 2012


it's obvious the whole thing is a joke at the reader's expense

He more or less admits this in the comments.
posted by mstokes650 at 10:11 AM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


After reading the title, I was looking forward to this, but I eventually gave up. I'm sure there was something good buried underneath all that muck, but I quickly grew tired trudging through the mud-swamp of that guy's prose.
posted by Max Udargo at 10:20 AM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


My main thoughts upon reading this were "wow, this guy is really stoned"*. Or else he's so trapped in the mire of postmodern interpretation that nothing can ever have any intrinsic meaning - I mean, really, the opening titles for 2001 are a metaphor for the projector's light beaming over your head? Whatever, dude, have an awesome time out there in the weeds.

I haven't seen Knight and Day. Haven't even heard of it to be honest.

* which is not necessarily a bad thing, I use the tactic of getting baked so my mind makes much crazier connections than normal a LOT when I'm working on my own creative projects.

posted by egypturnash at 10:31 AM on June 24, 2012


Huh. Rottentomatoes gives K&D about 50% but the trailers on Youtube make it look entertaining.
posted by egypturnash at 10:38 AM on June 24, 2012


I disagree with most people about Inception. There's this idea that it's all about the "mindfuck at the end," but that's really relatively unimportant, or at least it's no more important than the rest of the movie. The thing that made me love Inception, and the thing that keeps me coming back to it, is that it makes the viewer ask an interesting question: Why do we care about characters in movies?

It's also visually splendid, an incredibly well-directed action film with tight setpieces and nary a wasted second. It's a great movie. I understand this review is a joke, and it's a successful one at points if you're skimming it instead of actually trying to parse what the reviewer is saying, but Inception is a great movie.
posted by BV at 11:38 AM on June 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


I quit reading about a third of the way through before coming here to read the comments. I'm going to mark that as a win for me.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:02 PM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


My problem with this sort of snarky, winking critique is that it's pretty much indistinguishable from self-indulgent bullshit. And in fact I think that's exactly what it is, and hell, maybe if I read enough of his other stuff, I could peel back the layers and see the point he's making, but on its own it's really hard to tell what he's actually saying.

And yeah, doing this sort of piece just to make a joke is fine, but even though you can generally infer from tone alone that something is meant as satire, the actual point that is being made implicitly is sometimes hard to deduce without context.

So basically, I get annoyed when people pointlessly choose to obfuscate rather than just trying to make their point straight-up.

Remember: Sincerity is really, genuinely, okay. And I mean that.
posted by jcreigh at 12:53 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The best thing to come out of Inception is this, which I hit at random intervals to add a bit of instant drama to my life.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:58 PM on June 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


I read his assertions and disagreed with them. I wish I could do the same regarding The Prestige; Nobody calls that movie "dreadful" without any attempt at explanation and gets away with it, not on my watch.

It was okay. I had read the book first, and the main thing I took away from it is to never underestimate how far a magician will go for a trick. It's a neat insight about magic, but I thought the character work was kind of shallow, and I am so over the shamalyan twist ending trend in movies. If you figure it out or read the book first, it basically makes watching the movie pointless if the film doesn't work on a basic narrative level.
posted by empath at 1:01 PM on June 24, 2012


It's probably a joke, but this is the film geek equivalent of Poe's Law.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:39 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well that's a turgid, pompous review.

Inception. Knight and Day.
posted by Xoebe at 1:40 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The second I saw this was from Metaphilm I knew exactly what was going on, and I stayed away.
posted by pxe2000 at 8:43 AM on June 24

And what was going on?
posted by RobotHero at 1:47 PM on June 24, 2012


Weird, snarky, postmodern-influenced (to the point of incoherence) criticism. Though thankfully this article didn't seem to have any Christian undertones...
posted by pxe2000 at 1:58 PM on June 24, 2012


And what was going on?

This is "metaphilm" - the whole point is not actually to skewer the films themselves, but the pretentious self-important film criticism and intellectualism...

I mean - can you really read one of their reviews/critiscisms of Fight Club and take it seriously?
posted by jkaczor at 2:29 PM on June 24, 2012


Oh. I thought it was just unreadably stupid and bad, TBH.
posted by Artw at 2:52 PM on June 24, 2012


Well, no, but I find reading it more difficult than taking it seriously.
posted by RobotHero at 2:56 PM on June 24, 2012


Reading that was more work than I like for a joke. "Film critics are intellectual onanists who will argue any damn thing, amirite?"
posted by gingerest at 3:10 PM on June 24, 2012


Film criticism shares with religious fundamentalism the dubious honour of being often indistinguishable from parody. At least it doesn't kill people.
posted by elgilito at 3:16 PM on June 24, 2012


A friend of mine described Knight and Day as resembling "the fake movie trailers they put into movies to make the real movies seem more real."
posted by duvatney at 3:43 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz???? Eeeehrg.

You're dreaming if you think I'll even dream about watching that.
posted by Twang at 4:09 PM on June 24, 2012


It's nice to see the end of Metafilter's honeymoon phase with Inception.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 4:19 PM on June 24, 2012


> Apparently I need an editor too.

as well.
posted by mrzarquon at 4:27 PM on June 24, 2012


Am I the only one who suspects that article was written by a markov generator that's almost, but not quite clever enough?
posted by radwolf76 at 4:54 PM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I only understand movie criticism in terms of thumbs.
posted by fzx101 at 5:57 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I skimmed because it was unreadable and got to the part where it said Knight and Day was a 9/11 truther movie... at which point I realized it was all a put on. Funny that some people thought this was a real thing I guess, but not really well executed as a joke.
posted by j03 at 6:16 PM on June 24, 2012


I refute it thus:

Yet we stand opposed to this gaseous behemoth as a BRAWM

Nolan’s first dirty trick: Inception immediately classifies its target audience as BRAWM

Inception is an artistically barren film. To confirm, all that is required is BRAWM


and here's the kick:

Non...brawm-brawm_brawm-brawm_brawm-brawm...
...rien de rien...brawm-brawm_brawm-brawm_brawm-brawm...
...non...brawm-brawm_brawm-brawm_brawm-brawm...
...Je ne regrette rien...brawm-brawm_brawm-brawm_brawm-brawm...

posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 7:22 PM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh lordy. I've seen Inception and knew nothing of Knight and Day, read the start of the essay and thought I better dl it so I can do a fair comparison. One hour in I was looking for clues and plot twists: maybe Diaz was mentally ill and Miller was imaginary, hence the constant blackouts and weird getting to the island sequence.
posted by Damienmce at 8:47 PM on June 24, 2012


A kind of high-toned copromancy

How does that not make you laugh?
posted by freebird at 9:12 PM on June 24, 2012


BRAWM

Imma let you finish, but I just got to say Tron Legacy is the best movie soundtrack of 2010 with a BRAWN in it there is!
posted by Artw at 9:19 PM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


At the risk of invoking the ire of its fans: how did you get past the absurd representation of Tesla in The Prestige? In particular the invocation of 'real' magic in a movie that was not set in a fantasy realm. I get the sense from its fans on Metafilter that I may have missed something...

I remain a Nolan fan ever since seeing Memento, perhaps my all time favourite film, but The Prestige put a big dent in my appreciation for him. (I dug Inception, but thought the third level got to be pretty silly and a little boring).
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 11:26 PM on June 24, 2012


Well, it beats "secret twin"...
posted by Artw at 11:28 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Y'know, I liked that better...
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 11:35 PM on June 24, 2012


"Ha! I have a SECRET TWIN!"
"Fuck you - I HAVE BENT TIME AND SPACE! Plus murder... OF MYSELF! Lots of times! David Bowie helped."

It makes perfect sense.
posted by Artw at 11:43 PM on June 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


Did Jonathan Swift write this thing?

Y'know, if one was inclined to make ludicrous comparisons between movies that are remarkably dissimilar, one could actually make this argument about some other 2010 movie that actually had some merit and credibility; "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" comes to mind.

Paprika might be a better place to start.
posted by seansbrain at 2:33 AM on June 25, 2012


A kind of high-toned copromancy

How does that not make you laugh?


By being too pleased with it's own cleverness by half - a more succinct speaker would have just called Nolan a shitwizard and have been done with it.
posted by FatherDagon at 8:08 AM on June 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I hear this "Chris Nolan makes the same movie over & over" thing a lot, and frankly I don't get it.

Yes, he deploys similar (sometimes very similar) themes, and at a really elemental level they're always about Some Guy With Terrific Moral Issues, but one of the things I enjoy about Nolan is that (Batman apart) he finds ways to explore different aspects of that theme every time.

Also, Prestige: It came out within a few weeks of The Illusionist, which was a beautiful flick with some nice acting that felt like a terrific cheat and had no really interesting parts to it once you got past looking at the beautiful stuff. The Prestige was a near-cheatless mystery with some really interesting character depth and moral questions* which also happens to be beautiful.** Most people don't even remember that The Illusionist was even made, while by contrast we are actually here having a discussion/argument that includes The Prestige as a largely-common reference point.

--
*Some, of course, answered (for effect) by idiots: seriously, how can you ask "will I be in the box or the prestige?" 30 times and not realize that you're always both, you fucking moron.
**... and includes one of the few really effective uses of David Bowie as an actor. I have not been a fan of his acting in the past -- mostly because w.r.t. the roles, there just didn't seem to be a there, there, but his Tesla was just wonderful.
posted by lodurr at 11:08 AM on June 25, 2012


In particular the invocation of 'real' magic in a movie that was not set in a fantasy realm.

Don't mistake character dialogue for statements of the story reality. Tesla in the film is doing science; it just doesn't happen to be any science that the real Tesla ever did. "Real magic" is just a professional's reaction to it. You're free to dislike what's portrayed there as science, but if you want to argue that poor depiction of scientific reality is a damning issue, I'd ask you to be similarly critical of any other film depicting technology.

and I suppose if you're a Tesla fanboy, it's probably irritating. I'm not, so I just saw a really compelling bit-part performance by an actor who's traditionally be exploited for his recognizable face and not given real challenges.
posted by lodurr at 11:14 AM on June 25, 2012


I see it as the ultimate Tesla fanboyism - he's gone past the point where he's better than Edison to the point where he now has real world magical powers.

(see also: Atomic Robo)
posted by Artw at 11:19 AM on June 25, 2012


Tesla fanboyism....Yes, I can definitely see that. Also how it might irritate a real Tesla fan. I just really enjoyed that character, and it probably helped a lot that I literally didn't realize it was Bowie for several minutes.

I loved the way that whole interaction played out, and especially the scene where Tesla first tries to demonstrate the device...and it doesn't seem to work. I just got these really intense flashbacks to me or other developers trying to demonstrate web applications or pieces of software, and them not quite working, but the developer (sometimes ME) explaining that it didn't really matter that it didn't work this time, it would at production....
posted by lodurr at 11:35 AM on June 25, 2012


how can you ask "will I be in the box or the prestige?" 30 times and not realize that you're always both, you fucking moron.

Unless we have wildly different views on what a person is, doesn't he wind up in the box? Does asking this make me one of the idiots you speak of?
posted by ODiV at 2:19 PM on June 25, 2012


Who is asking the question?
posted by Artw at 2:29 PM on June 25, 2012


A clone who will be cloned and then drowned.

"Hey man, I just popped into existence and we're identical and have a shared passion for illusions! Now we can do a magic trick where I hide in the audience and then we pretend that we're the same pers... wait, hold on... there's no need for that... aaaah!"
posted by ODiV at 2:34 PM on June 25, 2012


What Artw said. And no, it makes you much, much smarter than Angier, because he doesn't even get that far: He only knows what he remembers, which is being in the prestige. From the perspective of the person asking the question (which would be a version of Angier that ended up in the prestige the last time the trick was run), he always ends up in the prestige.
posted by lodurr at 2:34 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe I was giving him too much credit, but I took it that he needed to ask himself the question because he was pretty sure he was going to die, but due to his obsession had to perform anyway.

It's been ages since I've seen it, but who died the first time around?
posted by ODiV at 2:43 PM on June 25, 2012


> "Hey man, I just popped into existence and we're identical and have a shared passion for illusions! Now we can do a magic trick where I hide in the audience and then we pretend that we're the same pers... wait, hold on... there's no need for that... aaaah!"

It's not even that.

It's the clone that appears outside the box, so Angier0 is entering the box, knowing he will die, but Angier1 is created simultaneously before the horrible anguish of death, and since he has all the motivations to continue his horrible self suicides. Asking Angier1 what his experience, it would be that he entered the box and was teleported outside, so his perspective when doing the trick a second time would be that he would survive, even though he knew his body would die.

The moment when the trap doors opened for Angier1, having the memory of being there, in that exact same situation from his memories of Angier0, but instead of being teleported outside, drowning, must have been a cascade of horror. And it probably increased in each Angier as habituation made him think he'd survived it.

So Angier 29 had gone into the box and ended up in the audience 28 times, but counter to all his memories, this time he drowns.

> It's been ages since I've seen it, but who died the first time around?

I can't recall if he placed the gun next to the cloner, which would have meant the original survived, or if he put it across the room, which means since the first experiment, it's always been clones.
posted by mrzarquon at 2:50 PM on June 25, 2012


Yes, I followed all of that just fine and having a hard time connecting it to anything I've written. I was suggesting the answer to "will I be in the box or the prestige?" would be "the box" instead of both as lodurr said.

The dialogue I wrote was just a joke about how instead of doing the rational thing and seizing the opportunity of an unexpected clone to perform better magic tricks he just kills him.

I wish I could remember who gets killed the first time around, because if it was the original, then at least the current Angier has a bit of plausible deniability.
posted by ODiV at 3:05 PM on June 25, 2012


It's supposed to be the ultimate one-up-man-ship. To paraphrase Artw,

"Ha! I have a SECRET TWIN! Each of us only lives HALF of a LIFE!"
"Ha! I MAKE a secret twin -- EVERY NIGHT! And one of us DIES -- EVERY NIGHT!"
posted by straight at 6:42 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


No twin-swappy sexy times though.
posted by Artw at 6:43 PM on June 25, 2012


Angiers' willingness to die/murder his clone (A-0 shot A-1, by the way. The gun was next to the circuit breaker, as soon as A-1 starts to figure it out, bang, because A-1's A-0 self knew what A-0's reaction would be, hence the pleading) on a nightly basis is, to me, why Angiers won. His sacrifice was much greater, but his purpose (doing it for the show/audience/Art) was grander than the "I can fool them all, haha" motive.

That, and obviously Wolverine beats Batman. I mean, at the very least he could just outlive him.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:35 AM on June 26, 2012


It's been ages since I've seen it, but who died the first time around?

The version in the prestige. But that doesn't matter, since the one asking the question is always the one who remembers living.

They reason I focus on this reading is that I think Angier is meant to be the moral fool. I see that as a trope in Nolan's work. Sometimes it's an idiot (Angier, or the central actor in Memento, can't recall his name), sometimes it's someone less stupid but still self-deluded (Dom Cobb, Alfred Borden), sometimes it's an outright liar (most of the secondary characters in Memento, the Joker, Mal Cobb is either this or the idiot, depending on how real you think of her as being). It's a character whose function is to illustrate the main moral question of the piece (which usually has something to do with self-delusion). It's rare that a character is morally clear-sighted -- he seems to hire Michael Caine for that job (though Lucius Fox also fits the bill), Hardy's character in Inception could work, and I'd argue that Bruce Wayne / Batman is pretty close to that.

Ultimately I think Angier is meant to be a moral idiot. He has no real moral insight, doesn't even really mourn his wife -- he's not really angry at Borden for "killing his wife" or 'having a happy life', he's angry at him for his clarity and commitment (and if he really knew how deep it went, I have to believe he'd hate him even more).
posted by lodurr at 5:24 AM on June 26, 2012


Also, Borden wins, because a) he's the only one of the two who figures out how stupid the game was and stops playing, and b) he lives.
posted by lodurr at 5:31 AM on June 26, 2012


« Older The moon on a stick   |   The Madagascar Journals Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post