Characters aren't really the focus here. The movie as a whole, the aesthetic, the slow, quiet, detached, unsentimental nature of the film is what makes this a good example of a 5 aesthetic. The deep terror of being alone in outerspace with an artificial intelligence that turns against you. You are small, powerless, utterly helpless. The existential immensity of this terror is enveloping. It makes your skin crawl. It is provocative in its unsentimentality. The radically slow pace of this movie. The distance camera angles. The inscrutable human faces and voices. In a way this is what it feels like to be a 5 in the world. All is senseless, larger than you, happening with or without you.
A few scenes
- The hilarious sequence of the chimpanzee discovering the bone that he can smash things with. The use of that bone to claim the pond from the other tribe of chimps by murdering one with it. "Yep, we're just chimps who use tools to beat each other and claim territory and resources... that's the whole human dance, from dawn of humanity to now at our most technologically advanced." Also the visual equation of throwing bones to launching ships into outer space. So great. A very 5ish satire.
- Consider the scene where the guy goes out to fix the battery and is launched into outerspace with his oxygen disconnected — this is probably the scene I'd show. Then the rescue. The incredible amount of time it takes to get to him. The trust in the machine's tracking, which you're not sure you can trust. The disconnection of the other astronauts from life support, watching the machine failure. The recovering of the spinning body with inept machine hands. Then the return to the ship, not being let on board. The coldness of the AI. "This conversation can no longer serve a function." The release of the body into space. The matter-of-fact treatment of death. The ridiculous song "Daisy" — it's kind of funny, in the 5-ish style. Ridiculous, senseless, ironic, mad, terrifying.
- And the final sequence! As he is pulled into the gravitational vortex of Jupiter / the black prism. Then the utter nonsense, Beckett-like, in the victorian bedroom, the "must read into it" symbolism of going through the stages of this astronaut's life. Just eating and sleeping and doing normal human things, and then dying.