Infinite | Third Space
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Infinite

Are you a believer or a nihilist?
Mon 9 Oct 2023
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⭐️ 1/2 (out of 5)

D. Eric Maikranz's novel The Reincarnationist Papers seems to have come along at the ideal time in cinematic history. His crowdsourced film has a ready-made audience hungry to see Heinrich Treadway make his way through multiple lives on the big screen. To be put into the hands of uber-cool director Antoine Fuqua (The Magnificent Seven) feels like a dream come true. Especially when you have the lead du jour in Mark Wahlberg to front the project and then to include Chiwetel Ejiofor (Doctor Strange) as his eternal antagonist, things look to good to be true. Then COVID hits and the playing field completely changes until Paramount decides to use this big-budget project as the means of launching their new streaming service. What could possibly go wrong? Well, it seems like everything.

This theatrical mixture of The Matrix, Cloud Atlas and Mission: Impossible introduces us to two opposing factions of reincarnated humans of Infinites called the Believers and the Nihilists. The first group strives to make the world better in honour of a higher power. While the Nihilists hope to break the cycle of their reincarnated turmoil by releasing the energy of ‘The Egg’ that will eventually eradicate all life on earth. Except this destructive force has been stolen in 1985 by Heinrich Treadway (Dylan O'Brien). This means that it has been kept from the Nihilist leader, Bathurst (Ejiofor), until he manages to track down his adversary in 2020. But Evan McCauley (Wahlberg) does not realise the power he possesses in his current bodily form.

After an altercation with a local drug dealer, McCauley is arrested and sits in the police interrogation room when Bathurst walks into his life. Even though he does not recognise his nemesis, Evan must endure a terrifying interview until he is rescued by fellow Believer, Nora Brightman (Sophie Cookson). As they attempt to stay ahead of the Nihilist leader, Nora does all she can to help McCauley to regain his memories and help them to discover where he hid The Egg.

Maikranz has established a rich world-building component that should have been a springboard to the newest cinematic franchise. Despite the pedigree of the director and actors with this project, something went wrong between concept and implementation. It is difficult to pinpoint where the blame should be with this film, but nothing seems to work in this chaotic debacle. Antoine Fuqua incorporates a multitude of special effects distractions to distract the audience from the atrocious dialogue. Still, these tricks cannot cover the massive plot holes that abound throughout the whole film.

Mark Wahlberg tries to carry the whole film. Yet, he has this perpetual look in his eyes that conveys his disbelief at how confusing everything is in this storyline. Great characters like Toby Jones’ Porter and Rupert Friend's Bathurst 1985 were left out in the cold and other key individuals were never given any backstory. Fuqua must have taken from Michael Bay's playbook despite an evident budget that would have been the GNP of a small country which has a hope that the cool cars and explosions will keep producers from noticing all of the problems with his creation. Not to mention how the reincarnation element fails to support its own theological premise by bringing everyone back as attractive individuals who can handle hand-to-hand combat. Infinite tries to do too much in a concise amount of time. As it tries to resurrect the story throughout, it eventually collapses in on itself and never comes back to life.

REEL DIALOGUE: What does the Bible say about reincarnation?

Definition of reincarnation - Being reborn in another body. Several religions, including Hinduism, believe that the human spirit returns to Earth in different forms again and again as it strives for perfection.*

Hebrews 9:27 - And just as people are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment.

After watching Infinite, it is worthwhile discussing the topic of reincarnation. Interestingly, a recent survey stated that 25% of Christians believe in reincarnation, even though it contradicts the teachings of the Bible.

We can know from the teachings of the Bible and most theological textbooks that man is the unique creation of God. We are created in God’s image with both a material body and an immaterial soul and spirit. This means after death, we do not return as another human, an animal or a fruit fly. The lesson does not stop there. While man’s body is mortal, at death it decays and returns to dust. While our souls continue on either in a place of torment for those who reject Christ (hell) or in paradise (heaven) in God’s presence for those who have trusted in the Saviour.

Where could I go to find out more about world religions?

Check out this great review of Rodney Stark’s book, Discovering God, by the Centre of Christianity’s Simon Smart

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