What You Need To Know:
THE BIG BANG, in some ways, is quite boring. The camera remains still, eschewing the angles or movement that would add depth to the flat compositions and unengaging visuals. For Christians, the heartbreak of the film turns out to be the dearth of Gospel-knowledge by these representative Americans. Truly, according to THE BIG BANG, the fields are white unto harvest.
(LL, S, H) At least 10 obscenities, 1 profanity, and extremely descriptive sexual language.
THE BIG BANG explores the meaning of life. Using a simple question and answer format, an interviewer queries various Americans concerning God, sex, identity, love, madness, family, and death. Although the responses run the gamut from earnest to flippant, some are quite profound.
The director has compiled an engaging array of Americans and juxtaposes individuals like black basketball star Darryl Dawkins, Italian ex-gangster Tony Sirico, former Puerto Rican boxing champ Jose Torres with Holocaust survivor Barbara Traub, med student Marcia Oakley, astronomer Fred Hess, and several others.
One of the more provocative questions and responses includes the following: When asked “Where is God?” one replies “Where there’s life and electricity.”
Another question concerns the origin of planet Earth and man’s creation. A little boy suggests that man was created by apes, while the astronomer’s rehearsal of the “Big Bang” theory also ties in with naturalistic scientific theory. Sadly, not one of those queried suggests God as the Creator of man and the universe.
Questions dealing with love and identity also prove interesting. The medical student (a young black woman) says that although she does not hate men, neither does she trust them. She also gives a graphic, detailed account of her first sexual encounter. Basketball player Dawkins remarks candidly that he would lie and do whatever he needed to do in order to receive love.
On the other hand, filmmaker Don Simpson shares an experience he had at age ten. He would stare at his reflection in the mirror and repeat his name over and over in an effort to establish his identity. He worried about going insane, a concern several others shared, too.
Perhaps the most moving response about the identity question comes from Holocaust survivor, Barbara Traub. Although she had known only middle-class comfort until age eleven when she and her parents were deported to Auschwitz, everything was stripped away from her at that time. In an effort to preserve her dignity, she declined the very chunks of meat that would sustain her life. She emphasized that this act was the only way she could assert her personhood.
The consensus of opinion about what happens after death is that man possesses an immortal spirit, but beyond this affirmation, no one seems to have personal knowledge of heaven or hell. The filmmaker, with a strong Baptist background, did admit that after a Judgment, man would be consigned to heaven or hell; however, he repeatedly stressed the rejection of his strong Baptist upbringing and the Bible.
THE BIG BANG, in some ways, can be construed as quite boring. The camera remains still, eschewing the odd angles or simple movement that would add depth to Director Toback’s flat compositions and unengaging visuals. Only in gangster Sirico’s interviews as the camera moves in close framing his mouth, do we glimpse imaginative filmmaking.
For Christians, the significance and heartbreak of the film turns out to be the dearth of Gospel-knowledge by these representative Americans. No wonder the Lord reminds us in Matthew not to hide our light under a bushel basket but to let it “shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5: 15-16). Truly, according to THE BIG BANG, the fields are white unto harvest.
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