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Author Topic: The three "meanings" of this movie  (Read 2416 times)
Don Uittone
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« on: May 31, 2004, 07:02:46 AM »

I also posted this to the IMDB board but when I saw this excellent site I moved here.

1. First is the much disputed "dream theory". I partly understand why it is hard for some people to accept or even consider that theory. When I first read it (after I've watched the movie first time) I was a little bit disappointed too. You know, you feel like "was that all just bunch of lies, dreams?". I know it sounds childish but it can be true in some people's case. The claim that "dream theory is *beep*" is quite stupid in my opinion, it isn't more stupid than the rest of the theories. Although you should not say "it was all dreams so fugedda about it" every single time.

But anyway, we all know the dream theory. Max just betrayed his friends and goes to the opium joint to escape the world. Nobody can deny that right? Then he sees the flashbacks (the phone ringing scene) from the previous hours. Then it goes complicated: if the 1960's was a dream, the following actions after the departure of the opium joint would have to be dream too, right? Because THAT doesn't make sense that the killing of Noodles' girl and the departure would be real but the 1960's wouldn't be.

Leone has said, that the movie goes back to the beginning. The beginning is just right after the betrayal. So the circle of dream would have to start from there and it ends there. No room for the torturing of Fat Moe or the murdering of the girl.

2. The second possibility is, that Max organized his own death by himself. The masochist girl (sorry for not remembering the names right now) said, although in the 1960's, that Max wanted it that way. He was going to die anyway (disease) and he was a little bit crazy so he arranged his death that way. The scene where Noodles has just made the phone call to the cops indicates, that Max knows something (if not everything) about the call. So maybe he has fed these ideas to the masochist and Noodles? I think this is theory is really far-fetched and also unrealistic, because what the masochist says in 1960's would be true only when Max would be alive, because they happen in the same timeline. So this theory is quite shallow.

3. Third one is the most basic one - everything happens as they are shown to be happening. Noodles betrays but Max knows about that (maybe it was even his own idea), he knocks Noodles unconcious in purpose and then disappears. The questions of this theory are, that what was Max's motive? Why did the want to frame his own death? He wanted to get out of the business and start a new life (notice, not immediately as a politician)? Why would he do that in such a hard way? Why did he want to torment Noodles and let him suffer?

Also, how come Noodles or any single other person did not recognise Max? As many have said, that is the weak part of this plot. I'd like to also comment the dump truck scene, the purpose of this film was to let people never know what did he do - did he killed himself or did he start a new life somewhere else. The main point of that scene is that he isn't coming back. That scene also strongly supports the dream theory.

So basicly, it's either the dream theory which rises a lot of questions. It would explain the smiling in the end though (in some way). It is really quite solid theory, it'd explain the unrealism of the 1960's part as well some other dream-like things. It can offer some really good themes for this movie.

Other one is the basic plot theory. It is unrealistic in some ways but it is also easy to accept.

Comments?

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« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2004, 02:44:46 PM »

The Dream theory is crap.   Noodles dreamed what the 1960's were gonna look like?  I don't think so.

Noodles goes away every time he does something really bad - to prison after the knifings - somewhere else including the opium den - after raping Deborah - Max even goes away with him once - after Noodles has turned down the future of truck ownership with union backing to head down to Miami.   Ultimately, after turning on his friends he goes the opium den, after cheating death he goes to Buffalo for 35 years.

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