Rubicon

[Screenshot]I gave up on this one after the second “movement”. I was just getting absolutely nothing at all from it. Twenty minutes in it dawned on me that it had less intrinsic meaning than Chappaqua and forty minutes in I realized there were about a million things I’d enjoy more than watching this movie, so I shut it off. So this review is really only based on seeing half of the film, but I can’t imagine I’m missing much.

I’m unclear on why I ended up watching this movie, or even why the UCSD library has a copy. All the metadata I find on it is unilluminating as well. I may well be the only person in the world who has actually seen this movie, and even I’ve only seen half of it. I figure my thought process was that I like animation and I’m interested in avant-garde, so I’d give it a try. But I’ve had enough now, and I’m buying a one-way ticket on the express back to Unpretentiousville.

Anyways, I got thinking a bit about the point of media. There’s the aesthetic you convey your method with, and the message you convey. My problem with Rubicon was that there was nothing there, nothing lurking behind the aesthetic. When I write down my thoughts, I usually have a word about cinematography, plot, theme, tone, that sort of thing. The computer graphics? They’re reasonably good but sterile (very “uncanny valley”). Music? Servicable but bland world-music sounds. Plot? I wasn’t really expecting one. Tone or theme? Nothing! I get nothing at all! It’s like looknig at a blank wall for all the emotional response I get! About the closest I got to responding was being bored, which is an emotional response, I guess, but there are easier ways to achieve that. The visuals could have been interesting, juxtaposed right and with greater context, but after watching the sun rise and set on a parking meter for 10 straight minutes, I can’t help but wonder if I’m supposed to be getting anything at all from this. If it were a tape loop as part of a larger exhibit, or a painting of a parking meter in the desert, I might get something, but any possible interest I might possibly have in this film is kind of suppressed by the execrably glacial pacing.

Anyways, I apparently missed a lot. Here’s what the film’s official website has to say about the film:

There was the spark. There was the watcher. There was the keeper. There was the destroyer.
In his much-anticipated first feature-length motion picture, Simon Tarr paints a stunning, sweeping technohistory of the human race to obsolescence. Sacred geometry and ominous CGI intertwine with a retelling of the story of Noah to illuminate the illusion of authority and the nature of autonomy in the contemporary digital sphere.

I figure all that must be in the 40 minutes I opted not to watch.

See also: IMDB, Official film website.

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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