One of the most memorable lectures I’ve had in college was about the Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus in a philosophy class I took up some time ago. The story of Sisyphus is generally simple, he tricked the gods and so he was punished to push a rock up a hill only for it to fall back down for all eternity. Not how you would like to be spending eternity right? Here’s where the plot twist comes, Sisyphus was happy. He enjoyed pushing the rock up the hill. He enjoyed doing it everyday and by enjoying it Sisyphus one-upped the gods. Indeed one must imagine Sisyphus happy.
The film triangle plays a lot with this concept. What happened to the protagonist Jess on the boat is exactly what happens to Sisyphus, she’s stuck on a boat and she has to ( well she’s convinced she has to) kill all of her friends including a past version of herself that is somehow on the boat. The film then goes full circle to how she ended up in the boat in the first place and ends with a full loop of her back to where she started and her not being able to escape the loop.
I enjoyed the movie and found it very interesting and it comes off like as a weirder more extreme version of one of my favorite movies Groundhogs Day. Unlike Groundhogs Day though it’s weird and sad because halfway through the movie the viewers somehow already get a feeling that there is no possible way of her getting out of this loop. I guess that’s where the weird tale comes in, the weird tale of Fate or Destiny. Jess was trying to escape but the viewers already know that there is probably no escape for her. Jess was completely helpless and clueless for most part of the movie. She’s a tough girl and just the thought of her son is enough to motivate her to keep going. But indeed she is clueless and powerless. She doesn’t know what’s going on for most part of the movie or why any of this was happening. And it seems like even till the end that there apparently is nothing that she can do to stop it.
Jess was trapped in that loop, stuck in the middle of the ocean with no escape and without reason. The viewers are left to wonder what happened or if Jess did something specifically to trigger being stuck in that loop. And even after watching the movie, I guess I can come up to the conclusion that, that’s just it, there is no reason. It’s just weird. Weird in the sense that the character did nothing specifically to cause her own demise, it was like Fate decided to do this to her. Maybe it was because she took her special needs son for granted and was understandably irritable to him? Who knows. By the end of the movie we’re left with more questions than answers really. Is Jess stuck there for good? Are Jess’s friend actually even there or just part of her imagination? If so then why the hell did they end up there too? Why is only Jess conscious of whatever the hell is going on? And probably the most important question about the movie that I’d like to ask is can I imagine Jess happy?
I guess it may seem impossible for Jess to be happy. For most part of this loop she’s stuck in complete isolation in the middle of nowhere miles and miles away from everyone else. Aside from that there’s the killing. She has to kill of her friends in the boat before killing a past version of herself before seeing her son die in front of him. Doesn’t seem like anybody could be happy with those circumstances right? Well yeah. Being stuck in something like that is complete hell. But Bill Murray somehow made it work in Groundhogs Day and Sisyphus managed to defeat his tormentors by being happy. But in an unexplainable and inescapable situation what more if left for us to do by try to work through it and be happy? It’s scary to think that this happened randomly to Jess. Just like it’s scary and absolutely terrifying to even imagine something like this happening in the real world.
But thing is things like this happen all the time. Sure, not the sci-fi, Groundhogs day, endless loop kind, but strange things do happen to us, things that we didn’t want and things that we can’t control and change anymore. I guess that’s the most terrifying thing of all about this movie, in many ways human beings are also just guided by fate and destiny and whatever it decides to send us. And in situations like those, just like Sisyphus, Bill Murray from Groundhogs Day and hopefully Jess all we can do is accept it and try to be happy.