2001's gospel message

Thu, 4 Nov 1999 16:46:33 -0500

In his masterpiece film 2001, Stanley Kubrick illustrated a deathbed
conversion scene. This has gone unnoticed by most critics but I
recognized it immediately when I first saw the film in 1967.

In the ending scenes, Dave finds himself in a strange white room,
with no sound and nobody around. He is eating breakfast, just
passing time away. Then he is seen as an astronaut in his
spacesuit. Then he is seen as an older man. Finally, he is seen
as a very elderly man in bed. At the foot of the bed stands the
black monolith, vertically, facing him.

At that moment Dave weakly raises his hand toward the monolith.
It is a gesture of submission, and recognition.

In the next scene, the final one of the movie, Dave appears as
a fetus, or a newborn baby, suspended in space. The music is

My interpretation: Dave took a long time, trying to save himself,
trying to escape death by means of technology, proud of his
victory in even overcoming the murderous HAL. But when he is
imprisoned alone within himself, after an extended period of time,
he comes to the end of himself. On his deathbed, he finally
gives in and submits to the will of the Power that is greater than
him. Immediately the heavenly gate is opened, the key having
been found. Dave is reborn in a new creation.

(Go back and see the film, and check out my interpretation for

Now, do you think Kubrick would have interpreted it that way?

Who is right?

Paul Arveson