Is the end that close?

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.

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7 Responses to Is the end that close?

  1. tanuvein says:

    From what I understood, Castle did go to the military first with this technology and it was probably designed as a weapon. But for some reason we aren’t told (though presumably related to the ping), they decided it wasn’t good enough. Unfortunately, I could honestly see our military willing to use this technology and the prison system willing to pick it up if offered the opportunity. The movies reasoning for the prison industry picking it up seems fairly reasonable and accurate to reality. We do spend so much on keeping the largest prison system in the world running that they already depend on what is arguably save labor to keep costs down. Something like the Nanex being used in that case might not seem so unreasonable to some.


  2. plorei says:

    I agree that the background story and plot line of the film are far from a feasible future world, especially when the film is set in only 10 years. However, unreasonable futuristic storytelling, while disappointing, rarely deters us from enjoying film, especially within the sci-fi category. The film seems like an over-dramatization for the sake of symbolism. It seems that the filmmakers aim to touch on a wide array of topics including technology, capitalism, and exploitation among others. In my opinion, the inconsistency of the story is something that the filmmakers hope the audience overlooks (or is distracted from by violent and sexual imagery) in favor of symbolic message.


  3. thawardasa says:

    I mentioned this in some ways in my post above, but I agree with you that Castle’s technology was wrongly used. The technology for his games is stronger than any weapons we have on this Earth; stronger than any people we have on this Earth. There’s so much technology that we have the capacity for, but regulations and safety precautions prevent us from every using the technology freely, and rightly so. So in that way, I agree that this is too fiction, just for the backlash that anything similar to this would cause.


  4. rwl14 says:

    The goal of a film such as this is not to warn of what will happen but what could happen. The issue with Gamer is less how “Slayers” and “Society” could happen in terms of practicality, but why they might. Dystopia stories are often like this, taking the worst aspects of the world and pushing them to extremes. It is exceedingly unlikely that the actual future will turn out like Gamer, but the film highlights some nasty things about our relationship to technology and to other people.


  5. vespoli57 says:

    I understand why Castle’s uprising might seem ridiculous to people because I surely hope I would never become desperate enough to allow someone to take over ever privilege I have ever been given, especially as a citizen of the United States. This being said, mass take overs have been seen before when a population of people become in need of resources and someone comes in with a new idea that can solve everyone’s problems. People have even been driven to points they wouldn’t have believed possible in the psychological Milgram experiment in which people delivered shocks to patients just because a person in a lab coat told them to. It is amazing, and slightly frightening, how easily people can be corrupted.


  6. pjm92 says:

    I really feel you when you mentioned that the part that stuck out to you was when Castle came to power. He’s practically the Hitler of the world! How could killing people lead to such a money making machine? I believe in the movie when they were recapping how Castle came to power they stated something along the lines of “he became richer than bill gates in one night…” , I think its Also amazing how we use the phrase “came to power” as if all that money makes him king of the world. But wait? Is he?! I mean where are the world leaders? ‘Society’ and Slayer are relevant in most of the worlds strongest countries. And castle has nearly everyone under control! So, do you consider him the King?


  7. Steph Roman says:

    That’s really interesting how you point to Nanex as a biological weapon (think of the military-entertainment complex Shaviro mentions). Can you perhaps think of one specific aspect, one part of the form that could help elaborate your argument?


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