Neil Bahadur’s review published on Letterboxd:
“The original is unfaithful to the translation.” - Jorge Luis Borges
Not a new reading as much as an addendum to my last few chunks of text in this film - this plays even better with time, as I found I must have been mentally comparing Doobie White’s cutting to the formal aspects of the previous installments (and WS’s work in general) but now I find it’s really not that different - the primary difference is in velocity, how fast one image hits another: White and Anderson are still giving a clear account of a spaces geography, which makes this all the more impressive: velocity makes the editing appear almost avant-garde at times (or is that simply what it is?) yet we’re still achieving this effect with clear distinctions between shots.
On this viewing what still remains most interesting is the idea of AI to preserve human life: this does develop in a significant way from Retribution - what if the simulation/virtual is not distinct from reality, and rather the next step forward - an extension of reality? As we learn by the films end, Alice herself is a simulation - the simulation takes it upon themselves to save the real. So what just seemed to me initially a merely an experiment in formal approach is actually the inverse to Retribution: RE5 - a ‘real’ figure within simulation/RE6 - a simulated figure within ‘reality.’ Rather fascinating - one of Ioen Gein’s final lines are “I’m the real you,” before being killed by the ‘simulation’ of him. It’s an interesting flip positing several questions: does the simulated take the place of the real? Do they both become ‘real’? Likely the second - seconds later the “simulation” of Gein is eaten by a hoard of zombies: the simulation is devoured by the remains of humans!
This is further developed by Alice’s survival at the films end - the simulated does not become a messianic figure - Alice’s survival indicates that reality needs the simulation/virtual to survive. This firstly is interesting in regards to W.S. Anderson’s relationship to aesthetics - form is necessary to explicate upon reality because it breaks reality down into concrete specifics. Outside of the film, I find this very interesting in the context of having read Nick Schlenk & Alex Williams Inventing the Future recently, which disavows ‘folk-politics’ for engagement with rapid technological growth with the purpose of building an effective left. The possibility in this film is that the simulation rebuilds the real by taking the place of it. In this context the end, with zombies falling to Alice’s feet, litterealy bowing to the simulation, is remarkably moving.