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Monday, February 07, 2005


Life Aquatic

[If you have not seen this movie and do not want to know how it ends, stop reading here!]

At the end of "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou," all of the characters are assembled in a submarine when the jaguar shark they've been seeking appears, and Sigur Ros' song Staralfur begins playing. If you haven't heard this song, please find it and listen to it; it's the kind of song that makes you never want to talk again.

Back in the submarine, they are all overcome with the beauty of this creature that they seem to have forgotten until just now, even though they've been seeking him. And Bill Murray, playing Zissou, starts to cry, and he says "I wonder if he remembers me," because he's seen this shark before. This made me cry. And there they are, a bunch of humans suspended underwater in a machine, surrounded by beauty that makes everyday human business screamingly irrelevant.

The other gem from this movie is when Zissou meets his grown son for the first time. His son asks him why he never tried to find him all these years; Zissou says, "I hate fathers, and I never wanted to be one." In some ways, the moment I describe in the submarine is the point at which Zissou comes full circle from that statement. This is a movie about taking ownership of things. There was some odd violence I could have done without, and in general the story could have been tighter, but when I saw that ending, all was forgiven.

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