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Non-Existential Detectives

Here is something that has been bugging me about my favorite film from last year, I (Heart) Huckabees: The detectives bill themselves and “existential detectives.” But they are not at all existential. They are the opposite of existential

Existentialism attempts to describe our desire to make rational decisions despite existing in an irrational universe. Unfortunately, life might be without inherent meaning (existential atheists) or it might be without a meaning we can understand (existential theists). Either way, the human desires for logic and immortality are futile. We are forced to define our own meanings, knowing they might be temporary. In this existence, the individual defines everything.

That is Katherine Vauban’s theory, not the detectives’ theory. Theirs is the antidote to existentialism. What gives? I guess it doesn’t really matter, because the ideas involved in this film are very simple, not sophisticated at all. They’re very Philosophy 101, though somehow not at all annoying for that. I think because the film is so playful, doesn’t take itself seriously, it doesn’t matter. If a film delved deeply into philosophy I doubt it could be so playful. So for the playfulness I can forgive the fact that David O. Russell has it backwards.

And I would like to add that the special edition DVD of the film isn’t very impressive and probably not worth the extra $10. I still love the film though.

3 Responses to “Non-Existential Detectives”

  1. Matt
    March 6th, 2005 | 11:35 am

    “I still love the film though.”

    You and me both.

  2. Kevin
    March 9th, 2005 | 3:39 pm

    That’s a pretty narrow view of existentialism. I think they’re existentialists in that they don’t elaborate some imaginative theory of the world to make us feel at home in it. Instead they are trying to force their clients to encounter directly and without illusions.

  3. cynthia rockwell
    March 10th, 2005 | 11:29 am

    the blanket, those little powerpoint squares floating around in the air–that seems to me a pretty imaginative theory and as full of illusion as any other.