One of the landmark films of the 1960s, and now often cited as one of the greatest films ever made, Stanley Kubrick's cosmic epic offers a spectacular speculative history of humanity and technology from the dawn of civilization to the turn of our new millennium. In one of the most brilliant, breathtaking examples of associative montage to be found in cinema, Kubrick bridges millions of years of human development with a single cut: a tumbling bone, only just used by an ape-like ancestor of humanity to crush the skull of an adversary, is suddenly transformed into a spaceship soaring hundreds of miles above the Earth. The year is 1999, and the discovery of a mysterious black slab on the Moon leads, eighteen months later, to a manned mission to Jupiter — and a beyond-the-infinite rendezvous with evolutionary destiny. The film’s use of classical music is inspired; its most human character, in Kubrick’s chilly view of a future dehumanized by technology, is, ironically, a (deeply flawed) computer. Dismissed by one critic as a "shaggy God story," described by another as "the world's most expensive underground movie,"2001 is a big-budget, wide-screen, quasi-experimental opus whose extended psychedelic sequences owe much to the drug culture of the era. In turn, its state-of-the-art special effects inspired the cycle of expensive sci-fi films that began in the 1970s, although Kubrick is clearly more concerned with ideas than gadgets, and few of those later films have captured 2001's "convincing sense of the void ... the abysmal feeling of deep space — its utter quietude, its dark infinitude, and ... absurdity" (Mark Crispin Miller). Colour, 35mm. 141 minutes.
"The film creates its effects essentially out of visuals and music. It is meditative. It does not cater to us, but wants to inspire us, enlarge us."Chicago Sun-Times | full review
"I assumed that this was what all movies ought to be: treasures for moral and aesthetic contemplation that did not provide all their answers on first contact."Salon | full review
"It is an extraordinary, obsessive, beautiful work of art."Chicago Tribune | full review