Fantasia Film Review: The Laplace’s Demon

Buona sera e benvenuto.

The Laplace's Demon - POSTER

The Laplace’s Demon is the first full length feature film from director Giordano Giulivi co-written with Duccio Giulivi. Eight researchers that have been working on an experiment to predict the number of pieces a falling glass breaks into, are invited to a secluded island. Their host is missing but has left instructions through a videotape. The mansion is recreated on a small scale model that includes eight pawns set to move about through a complex mechanism completely autonomous. This toy is able to predict their every move.

Consider for a moment Pierre Simon Laplace’s theory that the universe is just clockwork and all human entities movements are fixed from the beginning. That is what the mysterious host expects of his guests, now pawns of his experiment. An element of danger is introduced, appearing in the model as a black queen chess piece.

The influences here are palpable. This is less than a philosophical quandary and more of a detective story. There is a question that the movie asks whether everything is predetermined and free will is only but an illusion. However, the more pressing question seems to be, can they make a move that has not been predetermined by the professor’s equation?

There are obvious influences by Alfred Hitchcock and I see a lot of Agatha Christie as well in the plot. However, I also believe that inadvertently the movie reminisces certain aspects of the 80’s videogames such as Myst. The movie is all suspense-oriented, don’t expect any blood dripping from the walls.

Recommended for lovers of classic mystery and potential filmmakers. You won’t get any gore or violence. That’s a plus in my book but fans of horror might want to look elsewhere. In the Q&A that followed, I asked the director and writer if they had the ending planned all along when they started. The story was filmed chronologically and developed itself as it went along. Some things cannot be predetermined.

That will do for now.

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