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February 1996, Week 1


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
"Richard J. Leskosky" <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 1 Feb 1996 17:17:50 -0600
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (84 lines)
On Thu, 1 Feb 1996 10:59, H.R. Greenberg writes:
>for a piece on l2 monkeys, opinions solicited:
> Can it be
>logically inferred that Goines has staged the animal breakout as a "feint" to
>draw attention from the actual plan to steal the deadly virus and infect the
No, it cannot.  The redhead works for/with Goines's father and presumably
has the same negative opinion of humanity as Goines, but there is no direct
connection between them.  The redhead presumably steals the virus when
Goines abducts his father and sets the zoo animals free, but that seems to
be merely a coincidence.  There is no need for such a supposed "feint."
The airport guard, for example, seems curious but unconcerned over the
redhead carrying th virus samples onto the plane--or sniffing them himself
for that matter--and, if I recall correctly, even Goines Sr. does not
believe the virus is as deadly as it turns out to be.  Who would be
deceived by the "feint" if that is what it is?
>Does Cole in fact precipitate the very disaster he is sent back to observe in
>the context of his drugged up conversation with Goines in the madhouse in
>l99O? Is this clear, or inferential?
When it still seems that Goines is responsible for unleashing the virus, it
begins to look as though Cole is responsible for giving him the idea.  But
since neither Cole nor Goines has nothing to do with the real culprit, Cole
is not responsible.  But, it might be argued that Dr. Railly becomes
interested in delusions about the end of the world because of her
experience with Cole and that her subsequent book in some way influences
the renegade doctor in his plan for doing away with humanity, but it may be
difficult to defend that position--especially if the film establishes (I
can't remember if it does) that Railly's specialty in this mental condition
precedes her first encounter with Cole.
>Finally, the redhaired scientist with the virus is last scene in conversation
>on the airplane with his seatmate, the woman who is clearly one of the
>scientists from the future. She says she is "Jones -- I'm in insurance." Has
>she been sent back from the future to somehow retrieve the virus from the
>redhead? Or is this is her l996 self, there by happenstance? (An intriguing
>note re this "tyrannous future": the scientists might very well have the
>power to "get there ahead of time" and stop the virus from ever being spread
>in the first place. Yet they do not. Are they only interested in improving
>their own present, lest they end that present by preventing the epidemic from
>ever taking place in the first place?)
Since the scientist from the future looks as old as she does in Eternal
Night (the name of the underground civilization-to-be) and that's thirty
years in the future, I think we have to assume that this is her future self
who has traveled back, presumably to try to stop the epidemic.  At this
point, however, she can't since the airport guard has already been exposed.
In any case, this seems to indicate that the future scientists do believe
that they can change the past.  I think the crucial question is really
whether Cole's phone call telling the future people that the Army of the
Twelve Monkeys is a red herring actually changes anything.  Railly's call
mistakenly tipping off the future about the Twelve Monkeys and their
location is what gets Cole sent back to that place and he can tell her what
she said, but his being there is what precipitates the call.   The film
does not say whether the future people knew of Cole's subsequent call
BEFORE they sent him back but just did not tell him about it or if the
future was changed once Cole made the call.  If the former, then everything
happens because it has happened. If the latter, then the course of events
CAN be altered.
Time travel paradoxes are always messy, and Gilliam's Whitmanish unconcern
about holding contradictory positions doesn't help  matters.
--Richard J. Leskosky
Richard J. Leskosky                     office phone: (217) 244-2704
Assistant Director                      FAX: (217) 244-2223
Unit for Cinema Studies                 University of Illinois
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