What the #$*! Do We Know?

"Bad"

What the #$*! Do We Know? Review


What the #$*! Do We Know? is one of the hottest independently released films of the summer, as well as one of a handful of high grossing documentaries released in the past couple of years. Playing in a few specialty houses since summer it has - thus far - racked up an impressive $5 million.

The film -- directed by Mark Vicente, Betsy Chasse, and William Arntz -- purports to be about quantum mechanics, biological addictions, and the redefinition of objective reality and human consciousness. Using various talking heads, a lamely directed fictional story about a depressed woman photographer (Marlee Matlin) that parallels the subject matter, an electronica score, and a whole bunch of colorful graphics, the film simultaneously stimulates us with puzzling science at the same time that it foists upon us a New Age philosophy.

One of the more curious things about the film is that the filmmakers don't identify any of the talking heads until just before the end credits. This curious choice may be because the filmmakers don't want us to have preconceived notions about who is talking. But it could just as surely be because the filmmakers know that if we realize who is talking to us, we wouldn't buy what they tell us. As we learn in the end, one of those talking heads is a woman name J.Z. Knight, aka Ramtha. J.Z. is a self-proclaimed New Age guru who says she channels a 35,000 year old warrior named Ramtha. Other scientists are legit but definitely are made to look as though they cross the line between science and religion and maybe fantasy. (One of the "scientists" is Jeffrey Satinover, who has written a book claiming that homosexuality "is one of the many forms of soul sickness that is innate to our fallen nature.")

Because of this little bit of deception, What The #$*! Do We Know? -- while certainly interesting -- comes across like a recruiting video for the Ramtha School of Enlightenment.

Another clue the filmmakers have more on their minds than the exploration of new realities or science is the structure of the editing. Toward the beginning we see numerous talking heads all of whom seem to be scientists or doctors descanting (in sound bites) about quantum physics. But as the film goes on it delves more and more into the realm of speculative New Age ideas and then hones in on fewer and fewer talking heads until it rests comfortably on just two: Ramtha and Joseph Dispenza, a chiropractor and follower of Ramtha who talks about "molecules of emotion" and such things. Even the audio used in the film is telling. Toward the end, the film repeats various talking points, which may be simply to reiterate what we have already heard, but most likely it is to reinforce the points the filmmakers want to make.

Overall, there is nothing wrong with the film having a New Age element or being a recruiting video so long as the viewer understands that's what it is. But it seems that the filmmakers - who I understand are part of Ramtha's Enlightenment school as well, naturally - have been reticent because they know that their philosophy is questionable to the greater number of people.

Quantum mechanics is certainly very interesting and there is little doubt that as the study of physics gets more and more infinitesimal there is a lot of mystery remaining and a lot more to learn. But to start making assumptions that the beguiling properties of molecules can be interpreted to mean that there is no difference between what is real and what is imagined and that they can teach us about the power of positive thinking is to really narrow the whole meaning of physics to the level of a trite self-help ideology.

If you are curious about Ramtha, then go see What the #$*! Do We Know?. Otherwise my advice is that you'd be better off reading about quantum mechanics and simply imagining that you have seen this movie.

Aka What The (Bleep) Do We Know?

Well, for starters we know this is a load of hooey.



Facts and Figures

Box Office Worldwide: $10M

Production compaines: Lord of the Wind

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Lead, as Jennifer, Robert Blanche as Bob, as Elliot, as Reggie

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.