“The Laplace’s Demon”
Predicting the Future
“The Laplace’s Demon” is an Italian film that is based on a scientific theory known as The Laplace’s Demon. We follow seven researchers who are working on a system to predict the future. As a test, the team focuses on predicting how many pieces of glass there will be when a glass is deliberately broken. After completing their experiment, the team believes that they have done the impossible and cracked the code of chance and probability and are awarded an invitation to visit the famous professor Cornelius, who lives and works on a remote island in the middle of nowhere. When they arrive there, they are taken to a mysterious isolated mansion where they are not met by Cornelius but by a videotape recording that he left behind. His silhouette on the television screen explains the rules of the game, and a model replica of the mansion us in the middle of the room revealing that the researchers have become pawns in a unique experiment: a real life game of chess. They are pawns in a death trap programmed with a revolutionary equation that anticipates every move so that now the team must work together and do everything in their power to survive the night. There is a good chance that they’re all doomed.
The film stylishly looks at the idea of fate vs. free will under the direction of Giordano Giulvi (also co-writer) who beautifully balances pastiche, homage, and genuine suspense, giving us a gorgeous thriller that mixes classic gothic horror, film noir and science-fiction in unprecedented ways. It is a tense, thrilling love letter to classic science fiction and horror cinema of times past.
“The Laplace’s Demon” finds interesting and clever ways to explore patterns of human behavior, and even though the use of the model and the chess pieces sounds like a ridiculous idea, it actually works beautifully in the movie. There is high tension as both pawns and characters are killed off one by one.
Before long, one member of the disappears. Something terrible, represented by the black queen, is coming for them. But if their captor has perfectly calculated how they will behave and where each of them will be at any given time, have they any hope of survival? The question of whether or not the scientists believe they have free will is not just academic; their beliefs about it shape their actions and it is those actions that make this such an engrossing film.