The Philosophers (2013)
At an international school in Jakarta, a philosophy teacher challenges his class of twenty graduating seniors to choose which ten of them would take shelter underground and reboot the human race in the event of a nuclear apocalypse.
Genre : Drama/SF
Country : USA/Indonesia
James D’Arcy : Mr. Zimit
Sophie Lowe : Petra
Rhys Wakefield : James
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
I like a bit of philosophy once and a while, even though I haven’t encountered it during my student years. Although it’s sometimes difficult to make the distinguish between a philosopher and a sophist. The philosophy teacher here had sometimes the tendency to degenerate into a fairly dictatorial sophist with his puns and fallacious reasoning. But he was undeniably an intelligent man. Just as the graduating senior students in this class located in Jakarta. The introduction of the participants in this philosophical jousting, the structure of the story, the sometimes philosophical dialogue and the ultimate test that this Mr.Zimit had prepped, caused a tingling start. That, however, slowly slides into a meaningless, absurd and trivial conclusion, no philosopher could have made up.
First we meet the two protagonists Petra (Sophie Lowe) and James (Rhys Wakefield) who form a couple and actually are mutually antagonistic. Petra is the primus of the class and very smart, while James dangles at the end as we will learn later. The fact that Petra leaves for school that morning, and warns him not to fall asleep, wasn’t very smart. Rhys Wakefield is suitable for this role as a soft looking hunk who girls like Petra , an angelic appearance with a fragile appearance and a vulnerable personality, constantly fall in love with. Rhys was showcased in “The Purge” as the crazy leader of the student group and ” +1” as the dimwit that searches a whole movie for his girlfriend. Both films I didn’t rate that high, so I actually had something like “Jesus, again a movie as stupid as an ox”. It wasn’t that bad after all. Sophie Lowe has such an angelic appearance. I’m sure everyone would fall in love with her. Only she has the facial expression of a cow and her involvement in the conversations demonstrate either total disinterest or being stoned .
After that we get a representation of the other students and you can enjoy some witty and clever conversations. And then it’s time for the last test that Mr.Zimit comes up with. An imaginary situation in which 21 students reside while an apocalyptic nuclear war breaks out. However, there is a bunker nearby where only 10 people ultimately can survive (something regarding rationing and the oxygen equipment). Eventually, everyone gets a paper with his profession or talent printed on. They must now determine by logical reasoning who eventually is allowed to enter the bunker and to leave it again after a year to rebuild the at that time devastated earth and populate it again. An insightful statement that guarantees an entertaining movie that makes you feel involved as a spectator. You obviously don’t need a university degree to know that a carpenter or engineer has more value in building a society then a poet of course . And that was also the most hilarious moment of the movie. The student who got this talent, didn’t even get a chance to explain himself and was shot instantly by Mr.Zimit. The latter also has a “wild card” and possessed a certain knowledge that could be useful to the group. Ultimately they failed the first test, that ends with a collective suicide .
The sequel is a brilliant way to get the spectator even more involved in the experiment by starting over a second time but with some additional rules. Rules composed in such a way that individuals who first seemed very strong and important, now don’t look very promising and turn out to be doubtful cases. Further elaboration on the continuation of this film might reveal too much. Eventually the mood of this film capsizes completely. What began as an exciting test for a gang of high intellectual bright heads to push the limits of their ability to reason and develop an ingenious logically way of thinking, ends up as an infantile game of manipulation and jealousy caused by the most primitive human emotions. You would expect that these individuals who look at every nonsensical issue from every angle and perspective in a rationally and clearly way, would place themselves above these problems and handle their feelings. I thought that it was just an attempt to discredit someone and that it’s a bit meager to finish. A dull result.
The concept was original and promising, but they should have philosophized a bit longer about the end….