The Greatest Ending? -An Image(s)-

Reading Glenn Kenny's blog a few days ago- I was struck by his review of Resnais' upcoming Wild Grass (which I will definitely catch up with at the upcoming Festival De Nouveau Cinema here in Montreal.) Most notably this sentence taken from his thoughts:

'Resnais' Wild Grass is a whacked-out masterpiece with an ending worthy of the final minutes of 2001 and/or the last chord of 'A Day In The Life'.

Which got me thinking. Is 2001: A Space Odyssey. the best ending I've ever seen? I think it is. It's such a masterful mindfuck of an ending that I do actually believe its astonishing last 20 minutes are in fact the work of a madman, genius & the unlikely fact that something as awe inspiring will never be filmed again (by the way yes I do believe that last chord of The Beatles 'A Day In The Life' is also triumphant). 2001's final images have long gone into cinematic history- It's the ultimate WHAT THE FUCK!? moment. A clash of ideas and visuals which only a man like Stanley Kubrick could pull off.

The fact that it's still a highly complicated ending that incites debate 40 years after its initial release is astounding. The images seen as an astronaut gets 'lost in space' & finds a new dimension 'out there' is remarkable and -as said before- cannot be duplicated. I must also mention how a movie 4 decades old such as this one is still regarded for its influential trippiness & visionary vision to this day.

The unexplainable should be used in describing what happens in the film's second half yet many people forget just how groundbreaking the film's first half was in terms of visual effects. This was Stanley Kubrick, a man that shocked the world with Dr. Strangelove and Lolita, taking on a slowly paced science fiction project. Not much happens in the first half, just a slow burning tempo that enrages and infuriates many viewers. We know something bad is going to happen yet we can't begin to grasp what Kubrick has in store for us.

A seminal film that even bewildered Woody Allen back in 1968, 2001 had many haters and still does - I cross them all the time. Allen described how he just did not get it at first and yet his appreciation of the film evolved with his three-time watching experience. Which is no surprise given that many of Kubrick's films, especially beginning with Dr. Strangelove or 2001: A Space Odyssey, are said to be multi-layered. You like them better with each repeated viewing of it and you succumb to Kubrick's artistic bravura. I don't think I've heard of a Kubrick film that was an easy watch. 2001 is the most uneasiest of all watches, it ravages the soul with fury and a new way of seeing the world.

It has been duplicated but never replicated. Many filmmakers have tried to master and catch the trippy magic of what Kubrick did back in 1968 yet none of them really fully got it. Kubrick tried to envision a new way of seeing the world. A new dimension that was never revealed to us before and all done in an oddly realistic way and that can never be taken away from us.