Director: Stanley Kubrick.
Starring: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood. USA/UK 1968. 150 mins.
Heralded in 1968 as the most striking sci-fi film ever, Stanley Kubrick’s epic meditation on human evolution shines brilliantly 46 years later in a new BFI restoration.
The film opens with the discovery of a mysterious monolith by prehistoric, ape-like hominids. The narrative then jumps to the 21st century, when a scientist (William Sylvester) landing on the moon discovers an identical obelisk. Eighteen months later, a pair of astronauts (Dullea and Lockwood) journey to Jupiter in search of the monoliths with the aid of their omnipresent speaking computer, known as HAL 9000 (eerily voiced by Douglas Rain). The mission is fraught with tension and murderous intent as HAL begins to endanger the astronauts’ lives.
Often regarded as a metaphor and moral allegory, Kubrick’s film is a visual tour de force with a stunning soundtrack.