100 Movies You Need to See Before You Die

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Country: USA
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Screenwriters: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke
Stars: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester

2001: A Space Odyssey isn't really a movie—it's visual transcendence. Covering all of humanity's existence, from the dawn of man, when apes partied in rock pits, to an unidentifiable future, Stanley Kubrick's monumental examination of technology, evolution, and outer space doesn't follow a typical narrative structure, or pander to handicapped attention spans. By the end of its nearly three-hour running time, 2001 doesn't answer any questions and has no more than 100 or so lines of dialogue. Basically, it's Kubrick at his fuck-the-status-quo peak.

So, what's the point of it all? If you're interested in existential howls, 2001 is one cinema's coldest; if you're more apt to spark a doobie and watch movies in hopes of enhancing the high, it's a never-ending eye-gasm. Even before the extended laser-light show that sends one character into the future, looking like a Windows 95 screen saver on PCP, 2001 assaults the senses through pioneering special effects that, essentially, revolutionized both the sci-fi genre and the entire medium. —MB

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