In class as we watched the movie Gamer I continuously found myself denying the possibility of the real world getting anywhere close to resembling life in the movie. I understand the desire to warn people against complacency towards human rights in this modern time. I can readily agree that I find myself very easily in a mindset of how can I use everything around me to meet my ends? However I find myself wondering if the director of the movie was not just trying to make sense of his life by putting it in relation to an end. Frank Kermode said in The Sense of an Ending “The End they imagine will reflect their irreducibly intermediary preoccupations. They fear it, and as far as we can see have always done so; the end is a figure for their own deaths.” perhaps the reason this director wanted to make a dystopian movie is because he thinks we need to see how vulgar an ending we are heading towards. That by reminding us of our fear of the end we might live better.
If there was one moment that really stuck with me in this film it was the story of how the antagonist Ken Castle came to power. Apparently he shows up with an incredibly dangerous technology that would probably be classified as a biological weapon and people willing let him use it to affect their brains. To me it makes no sense that this business would get past any number of government agencies put in place to prevent companies from abusing their customers by hiding the effects of their products. Not only in this scenario did no government agency stop this business it goes on to say that the government allowed this technology to then be used on prisoners for profit. I understand the desire to shock people into action by showing them the results of their path but if you want to be taken seriously you need be able to convince people that the results you predict are believable. I think that it is just as Kermode said “The great majority of interpretations of Apocalypse assume the end is pretty near.” I think the director is being incredibly cynical if he would have us believe that anything like this could come to pass in a mere 15 years from the time he released this movie as it is set in the year 2024.
I recognize that it is possible that he doesn’t believe anything like this could happen and just wanted to remind us of how ugly things get when people aren’t valued. Yet despite that I find myself just completely unable to focus on that message because of just unreasonable an assumption the movie asks the viewer to make in assuming that a setting like this could come to pass. I am not sure if this line of inquiry is what we were supposed to follow but I just can’t focus on anything else. I would imagine any number of politicians would use condemnation of Ken Castle’s unethical business practices as an ideal platform to gather voters. I would be shocked if a massive number of religious activists and political activists looked at this abuse of human rights and decided it wasn’t worth their time. Finally if nothing else how many people would use lawsuits against the business as an easy means of profit? This story seems to say that the only people acting against the use of the technology that is enslaving people in the entirety of America, is a small group of around 4 terrorists, a single news woman and of course one of the victims of this technology. To me all of this can further be linked to Kermode when he said “Men in the middest make considerable imaginative investments in coherent patterns which, by the provision of an end, make possible satisfying consonance with the origins and the middle.” In other words I think this movie was made to show an ending and made huge investments in getting the story to line up with the ending rather than having a story whose ending is a natural progression of possible events.