Cinema Club: Possible Worlds (2000)

Posted on July 13, 2013


‘Possible Worlds’ (Robert Lepage, 2000)

The brain is a terrifying thing.

I think most people with a curious brain will have toyed with the idea of parallel worlds at some point in their life. That somewhere, somehow, an individual is living multiple existences, with a host of similarities but always slight differences. ‘Primer’ latched onto the multiple existences theme wonderfully, and ever since it has intrigued and horrified me in equal doses. Many times in life, maybe too many times, we make a decision which we then play over and over in our minds to work out whether it was right, wrong, or just was. As Napoleon is quoted in this film, ‘the imagination rules the world’.

‘Possible Worlds’ revolves around the many worlds of George Barber, and mostly his interactions with the many different versions of Joyce, his wonderfully intricate love interest. The film opens with a murder scene, where there is no weapon, no theft except that of his brain. The relationship between George and the 2 main versions of Joyce are quickly introduced, and it all goes from there. We flit in and out of Geroge’s different existences, all the while with 2 main detectives attempting to solve the original crime, usually with a slight hilarious tang. Speaking of hilarious, there is a wonderful moment in the film where George and the Doctor, where they observe a couple of chaps who are seemingly building something and using a language that consists only of the words ‘slab’, ‘block’ and ‘hilarious’. The Doctor becomes more and more important throughout, and the film builds to a sort of twist, but not the kind of twist that the film hinges on. It isn’t the viewers focus throughout, which in a modern world of twist obsession is quite refreshing.

In many ways, this is a seriously cold movie. I’m not just talking about the weather either, which is hideous (or great, depending on opinion) throughout. The dialogue is almost robot-esque at times, and the whole thing is shot with a sort of strange blue hue. Much like the US version of ‘The Ring’, the eerie light was one of the best things about the film. It gave it a dreamlike feel that a film of this sort requires. Whenever you are dealing with this subject, maybe it is best to view it through the lens of a dream. There are all sorts of questions about dreams and the validity of the existence within them, and good lord I’m not intelligent enough to properly go into it, but ‘Possible Worlds’ brought up this idea a lot to me. Much in the same way as ‘Waking Life’ did, all be it without the spark that made that film so special.

That was my only issue with the film really. At no point did I feel like I was watching something special. Either way, this was a more than enjoyable and extremely palatable sci-fi piece of work, taking on wildly fascinating subjects without jumping head first into mumbo jumbo and mathematical nonsense. Well, there was some ridiculous maths, but not enough to make me do the wanking motion. It felt like it would work brilliantly as a book, and I’m not sure if that is a compliment or an indictment.

Posted in: Cinema, Reviews