Monday, October 3, 2011

"Pontypool"

What would happen if the Zombie apocalypse was a result, not of an alien virus or germ warfare gone bad, but due to a mental contagion? That is the disturbing question that “Pontypool” tries to answer. It is a well done example of a film that tells a big story with little expense or scope. It could even work very well as a stage play. (In fact, the script was simultaneously used for this film and a radio drama.


Without going into too much detail—the film poses the possibility of language carrying the information that will destroy humanity. This idea is not quite as farfetched as it may sound. In a way, an idea does function like a virus. It is a package of information that has the ability to change and control people. Think of ideologies like fascism, communism, nihilism, or religion. The philosophers who speculate about such things call them memes, and their study Memetics.

(Problems arise when you begin to realize that the very concept of Memetics is in itself a bit of a meme. At what point do you emerge from the fog of viral ideas into observation and reflection on reality?) The ideas presented in “Pontypool” that seem so intelligent at first; end up being a bit simplistic and cliché in the end.

That being sad, it is a good reflection of the danger that so many ideologies present. Masses of humanity under the influence of a destructive lie are scary indeed.

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