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      Possible Worlds

      Released Sep 12, 2000 1 hr. 33 min. Sci-Fi List
      60% 5 Reviews Tomatometer 71% 1,000+ Ratings Audience Score A man (Tom McCamus) living parallel lives meets a woman (Tilda Swinton) as four separate incarnations. Read More Read Less

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      Possible Worlds

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      Audience Reviews

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      Audience Member Looking cool in a way but still so grotesque. Rated 1.5 out of 5 stars 02/04/23 Full Review Audience Member As good a start as a movie gets - the caretaker, standing on a step-ladder in the first gleaming of dawn is cleaning the window. Peering into the flat, he sees something which causes him to drop his bucket and run to the telephone. Light grows, sirens, the flat is full of policemen taking photographs, searching, looking.Their boss arrives - Sean McCann's world-weary and intelligent police inspector. "What've you got for me, Williams?""Break-in: homicide""That's the fifth one this week. Must be a gang war""This one's a ... little different, chief""Why? What did they get?""His brain"And that's all, despite the thousand dollars in the corpse's pocket. Top of the head taken off: brain removed. Very mysterious and not a little yucky. Dead man by the name of George Barber.And so we move on to George (Tom McCamus), an international financial risk assessor, walking into a hospital cafeteria and meeting Joyce (Tilda Swinton), a university neurology lecturer. And then we meet George, who is having a drink in a bar when he's hit on by Joyce, who sells stocks. See where we're going? Perhaps the film's title is a clue.An intriguing and cleverly made film. Yet somehow not quite satisfactory. Somehow one feels that there ought to be more to be made of these themes (although those of us who have read older sci-fi might also think that others have explored them pretty well over the years.)By now I guess you know where we're going with this, although the flashing light in the sea is an excellent touch. It remains to be seen (fortunately so far) how medical ethics might deal with a case which is almost the opposite of brain death.Worth seeing certainly, but you may need to be prepared to be a little frustrated. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/13/23 Full Review Audience Member both cerebral and poetic. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Possible Worlds is a low budget independent film by French director Robert Lepage, it is a surreal murder mystery which appears to have been made primarily to explore several different philosophical notions. It begins with two detectives arriving at the scene of a crime, the victim George Barber (Tom McCamus) has been murdered and his brain removed from his body. We then meet George Barber, alive and well. Since he was a boy, it turns out, George has had the ability to switch between different Possible Worlds at will. The love of his life is played by Tilda Swinton and we follow George in several different worlds meet the different versions of her and try to woo them all. In one world she is a shy scientist, in another she is a confident business woman. What makes these very different women the same person? Well, thats partially what the film is about. Simultaniously we follow the detectives as they hunt down George's missing brain and meet a mad scientist who experiments with extracted animal brains (Gabriel Gascon). The 'Possible Worlds' from which this film takes its name is a concept of contemporary philosophy, it is a method of discussing the nature of possibility and necessity. Instead of saying "I might have gone to the shops", one says "there is a possible world in which I went to the shops". This allows for greater clarity of discussion about the nature of possibility. One of the more eccentric lines of thought in philosophy is idea that Possible Worlds actually exist (technically they only possibly exist, but every possibility is an actuality for that possibility... yes, this is the simplified way of discussing it!). The concept is very similar to the quantum mechanics notion of multiple/parallel dimensions, as explored in a great deal of science fiction, and is the central premise of this film. The film can be best described as a cross between Darren Arranofsky's Pi and the cult sci-fi Primer. In places it is distinctly Lynchian, such as this dream sequence (which is the only part of the film available on youtube, there isn't even a trailer) Although the film isn't particularly complex (and it isn't as deliberely convoluted as Primer which, although enjoyable, tries too hard to make its dialogue impenetrable) following George through the various worlds and tying the different plot strands together does require the audience to concentrate. For a student of modern philosophy or a person fairly well read in the subject, this film will be highly enjoyable. While it contains slightly heavy handed brain-in-a-vat allusions, the film primarily focuses on discussions of identity and possibility. Many different ideas are brought in regarding the nature of consciousness, evolutionary development of the mind, and physical embodiment and the film makes no attempt to give simple or easy answers to these. However, for somebody not read in such areas, the film is likely to be frustatingly dull and pointless. The film does not try to overly explain or reduce these notions: such an attempt would be pointless anyway, it is dealing with some of the most difficult material ever written, 5 minutes of exposition isn't going to benefit anyone. But all of the films dialogue is very clear and simple and it never throws in unnecessary technical terms (like Primer) or tries to fool its audience. In spite of this, I do fear its subject matter will alienate many viewers. This dichotomy is perhaps best seen in the film's ending (which I wont reveal here). The film has a sad, melancholic ending, in which the story's plots come together and the characters journeys recieve closure. This is good, and it does mean even somebody unfamiliar with the concepts it is exploring can still enjoy the film. But at the same time, it could appear to be wrapping up profound questions with an overly simplistic conclusion. The ending of the film is good, but I think to truly appreciate the film is to realise that (as with many great films) its conclusion is infact the least important aspect of it. Possible Worlds is an excellent film with a very niche audience; it is to philosophy as Primer is to science. It contains enough surreal imagery and dark, dry humour for any audience member to enjoy, and I should of course point out that reading philosophy is by no means necessary for somebody to understand or engage with philosophical concepts, any more than one needs to be an art scholar to enjoy good art. But its taget audience, as the name suggests, is those who are directly familiar with the material that this film is exploring, and if you are a fan of David Lewis, Wittgenstein, Kant or Descartes then this film really is essential viewing. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/15/23 Full Review Audience Member An interesting premise which didn't quite fulfil its intentions. The acting was quite stony from the two (although I'm not sure if that was intentional or not) however the doctor gave a good performance even though I knew it was him from the moment he was introduced. By the end I was just left mostly confused. There was some good bits for example, him emerging from water or it raining a lot to suggest his brain was in the water jar but other than that there wasn't anything else very noteworthy. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/18/23 Full Review Audience Member Awesome Idea but i wanted to see more. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/21/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

      Critics Reviews

      View All (5) Critics Reviews
      Globe and Mail Rated: 2.5/4 Mar 22, 2002 Full Review Jason Korsner Rated: 4/5 Oct 16, 2001 Full Review Empire Magazine Rated: 2/5 Oct 16, 2001 Full Review Jason Gorber Film Scouts In short, Lepage's film suffers from being dry - both in terms of character and subject matter. It remains a watchable and interesting work, yet I see the film more as what could have been rather than what it turned out to be. Rated: B Jun 21, 2007 Full Review Ryan Cracknell Apollo Guide Rated: 77/100 Oct 16, 2001 Full Review Read all reviews

      Movie Info

      Synopsis A man (Tom McCamus) living parallel lives meets a woman (Tilda Swinton) as four separate incarnations.
      Robert Lepage
      Executive Producer
      Ted East, Victor Loewy, Charlotte Mickie
      Robert Lepage, John Mighton
      Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc.
      Production Co
      East Side Film Company, The East Side Film Company, In Extremis Images
      Original Language
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Sep 12, 2000, Original
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Jul 5, 2017
      Box Office (Gross USA)
      Sound Mix
      Surround, Dolby SR, Dolby Digital, Dolby A, Dolby Stereo
      Aspect Ratio
      Flat (1.85:1)
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