2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) dir. Stanley Kubrick


I first saw 2001: A Space Odyssey when I was twelve-years old. Perhaps the worst age to see this movie. While for a twelve-year old I was surprisingly open to more slow-paced, ‘artistically-oriented’ works, 2001 made me feel incredibly dumb. It was unlike anything I had ever seen! Abstract. On the nose. Weird. Boring. Sparse. Grand. Enthralling. Confusing. Ultimately, at the end of my viewing, I understood zero-percent of what the movie was trying to convey, but was all the more obsessed with it for that very same reason.

Of course puberty gave way to pedantry and pretension and by the time I was 14 I had this flick all figured out. It helped that Arthur C. Clarke’s companion novel explains every baffling moment in vivid and clear detail.

This is the most boring way to watch the movie.

Now, after whiling away for four years at “Movie School”, I have re-obtained some of my bafflement for this movie — any feature that cares so little about explaining details to its audience must be seen with awe. Imagine if Interstellar had zero explanation during the ‘bookshelf scene.’ Wouldn’t that have been amazing?


Ultimately, I think there is something just so very special about big filmic spectacles that are utterly baffling and confusing to the viewer on multiple levels. (Here’s an egregious cinema-sin I’m about to suggest: Is Batman v. Superman following in 2001‘s footsteps? Please don’t e-mail me about this).

I could, of course, go beyond my personal reactions and ramble on-and-on about the technical achievements of this movie, how it’s proof that the U.S. Government faked the moon landing, and how well it holds up today. But this is what everyone talks about. So you probably know all that as well as I do.

Just go see the damn thing. Especially if you haven’t already.

2001: A Space Odyssey
dir. Stanley Kubrick
142 min.

Screens Friday 9/23 at the Somerville Theatre in 70mm!

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