A veritable classic, this film is hailed as quintessential science fiction. For better or worse, it is impossible to view this film without being influenced by the zeitgeist that surrounds it.
In simple terms this film is tale of human evolution and intelligence, mysteriously unified by the presence of the black monoliths. The plot is not explicitly disclosed, Kubrick instead prefers to imply it using a masterful combination of music and visuals. This series of beautifully crafted scenes leaves the viewer with the notion that they are witness to something great; a product of sublime filmmaking. This is in stark contrast to films that while initially enjoyable, are ultimately forgettable. This film is engrossing in a completely different way, asking more from the viewer than mere attention. The characters say very little, but convey a lot, with even machines managing to evoke empathy. Kubrick is able to use this minimalistic approach combined with a striking orchestral score to touch on the origins of humanity. Deciphering the allegorical meanings of the film seems purposely bewildering, which for the majority of the film is intellectually stimulating, but in the long final act seems obtuse.
4/5 – Excellent!
Kubrick’s enigma is truly justified when celebrated as a classic, showing the advantages the medium of film can provide, highlighting how if the director has enough vision then truly remarkable things can be achieved. I can only feel that the film would have benefited from a more intelligible and coherent conclusion.