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What the #$*! Do We Know!? (2004)

What the Bleep Do We Know!?

A quantum fable.

Directed by:

Betsy Chasse

William Arntz

Rating: 2/10

Running Time: 108 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 12a

Country: United States

Who are we? Why are we here? What is reality? When are these people going to shut up and let us go home? These, friends, are life’s big questions, each of them covered in one way or another over the course of the equally bizarre and detestable viewing experience that is ‘What the Bleep Do We Know!?’.

Like a cross between a promotional video for a new cult and a particularly patronising schools programme, this half-drama half-documentary uses a combination of horrendously bad acting and talking head interviews with “experts” in an attempt to explain the ins and outs of quantum physics. With that in mind, ‘Quantum Bleep’ would probably have been a much better name for the project, although going by the self-satisfied tone of some of the total creeps involved, it could just as easily have been titled ‘Listen Up, Morons’.

To put things bluntly, I felt from the very start of this movie that I was being treated like a muppet, an empty vessel just waiting to be filled to the brim with thick smelly guff-juice. Why? (There’s another of those big questions!) Because – and this is a fairly important part that I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet – these people are peddling a stream of utter, utter codswallop. They tell us – quite matter-of-factly, mind – that objects can change shape, multiply and disappear when we’re not looking at them; that you can alter the entire world around you simply by planning your day; that early native Americans couldn’t see Columbus’ ships on the horizon because they didn’t know what they were (I didn’t know who the pillocks passing themselves off as respectable scientists were prior to watching this film, yet for some unfortunate reason I could still see them). Also on hand is a woman claiming to be channelling the spirit of Ramtha, a 35,000-year-old mystic described as playing “himself” in the end credits and apparently still making quite a crust out of book sales and seminars for one so ancient. So Ramtha’s old, but clearly not past it by any stretch of the imagination.

Chuck in some poorly-animated jelly babies doing an ill-advised spoof of the Robert Palmer ‘Addicted to Love’ video, and an annoying little know-all with a basketball who’s the best advert I’ve seen yet for turning a blind eye to bullying, and you’re left with the sort of film that’s extremely easy to hate.

It relies on the fact that, as the title brazenly signposts, most of us don’t really know enough about science to confidently challenge those promoting themselves as experts. As the end credits role, these particular “experts” trot out their resumes, hoping to wow us with their various diplomas and qualifications. Yeah, yeah – I’m sure they’re all very clever, but when all’s said and done their 108-minute movie managed to teach me just one important lesson that will stick with me forever: just because people are qualified, decorated scientists, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not talking shit.

It's Got: One-time Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin, now reduced to making a living promoting the proliferation of hokum.

It Needs: To be avoided like the plague – don’t let these hooey-salesmen get a hold of either your mind or your money.

Alternatives:

Fahrenheit 9/11

Summary

Creepy, distasteful cinematic propaganda, fronted and funded by a bunch of cults.

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