Event Horizon - Dr. Weir
I liked that film a lot. Still have it.
zoetrope = wheel of life
Okay. So the torture machine is like a zoetrope in a way. Were one just to watch the images in a zoetrope without the slits to view them through, then the images would blur together and not lead to the meaning interpretation by the mind that viewing them through the slits leads to. And so it is with the torture device. The idea is that one would experience a deep meaningfulness about their life when run through this torture machine, as opposed to just going through a more standard or mundane torture of day-to-day existence, for instance. And so The Officer is desperate to use the machine to achieve this before the opportunity is lost.
The movie itself goes in a circle, beginning with 1 and ending with 1 (beginning with the moments of hanging and ending with the same moments). But it seems it will just go over and over again (a wheel of life, or perhaps of death). I thought it seemed at times as though the man were trying to recall his life but the images flashed through his mind too rapidly and he had lost who he was. He seemed to have also lost language reverting to more of an "animal" state. It could seem like birth-death-rebirth in a way. Or like that's where one really is the entire time they perceive themselves going through a life (in a state of this existential suffering).
There is of course the element of sadism. The torturer or interrogator likes trying to dissect his victims looking for the soul inside. And he sees himself as entirely free from all of the feelings everyone else seems to have that would lead them to be horrified or afraid or in terrible pain. He can't sympathize with any of it because he's evil. Like other characters without feelings he cannot see that he just is this way and it isn't "enlightened" or something of the sort, nor is it really free. He can't imagine what others experience really (what others feel, or how things feel) and cannot see that all of this is just madness (that he himself is mad). So I guess in the end I don't buy it. The torture machine is just an instrument of sadistic madmen.
And that reminds me of Event Horizon. That "hell" seems to be portrayed in a very physical way (although it is somewhat psychological in that the physical aspect creates horror). I find the hell stuff disturbing, or I go between finding it that way and feeling detached from it. When I first saw the movie I found it really horrible and didn't want to watch it again. But for some reason it kept coming back to mind, so I re-watched it. It probably helps to follow Captain Miller's character through the story (my strategy for re-watching). He a fountain of strength (like a rock) but at the same time is afraid and vulnerable himself and that's what makes him so strong (he overcomes).
I feel rather sympathetic towards Weir's character because he is afraid and alone and carries his own little piece of horror inside him (and I find it easy to relate to Weir in some ways as I myself am quite in touch with the emotion of fear). I guess I mainly don't hate him for his path in the film because I felt the film portrayed why he went there. I mean after his "transformation," Weir feels stronger and less afraid and not alone anymore (he feels he is home) and this kind of gets at just how bad things were before, that he took that much of a leap trying to feel better (I mean obviously under these awful conditions as this wouldn't happen to him under just any conditions). [As a disclaimer I rather doubt that demon Weir at the very end is actually Weir... I think Weir may have died when he went flying out of the ship and I'm not sure if I believe the ship brought him back. But it may have. I think the problem is that they were originally going to do the end scene with Miller's burning man and then they switched it to Weir and that feeling of disconnect creates the impression that something is off about demon Weir--that he isn't real somehow.]
I also find Stark and Cooper somewhat interesting. Stark was able to hold it all together throughout the film by sticking with a more logical and practical perspective (e.g. focusing on completing tasks). But the very end the movie seemed to show that it (hell) had gotten inside her. I thought it was when the giant vat of blood spilled all over her that she lost it (it was chaos and she had been keeping things so methodical and organized before that to keep herself sane, but literally being engulfed by an ocean of blood broke her focus). And then there's Cooper, the apparently untouchable. He seems to be a fountain of optimism and perhaps too naive for hell to ever reach him (the eternal innocent). Anyway naturally the ship didn't focus on these two people very much, instead concentrating its efforts on the ones it could get at easier, with Miller being the ultimate prize or something, and Weir possibly being the easiest because the way to him was through sympathizing with his loneliness. And I did think the ship sympathized with its creator in its own (evil) way. That was maybe as close to "kind and understanding" as it could get.
Also by sympathizing with Weir it makes it easier to process the film. Weir is human and not evil. So sympathizing with him defends me against the disturbingness of the film.