“People Themselves Do Not Know What They Want”: The Idea Of the Film Interstate 60. Interstate 60: Episodes Of The Road: Meaning, Plot Of The Film, Explanation Of The Ending.
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Drama, Comedy, Detective, Adventure
Year of production: 2002
Directed by: Bob Gale
Actors: James Marsden, Gary Oldman, Amy Smart, Kurt Russell
tagline: “All your answers will be asked questions”
Bob Gale made a surprisingly interesting film that successfully combined traditional fantasy twists, deep philosophy and structure in the style of Gulliver’s Travels and Gargantua and Pantagruel. The meaning of the film Interstate 60 is to find an answer to the question: what is better – the system or free creativity? The film shows that one cannot exist without the other. This archetypal tale, which is based on an attempt to understand your destiny.
What is the movie about?
Brief description of the content of the film Interstate 60. One of the urban legends of America says this: if you meet O. J. Grant, the great master of granting wishes, do not rush to rejoice. This joker will do everything so that you yourself will not be glad that it came true. However, if this trickster really likes a person, then he will deal with him fairly.
Gary Oldman played the role of Grant. Frame from the film.
One day, Neil, a young man from a wealthy family, meets Grant. A young man dreaming about a girl he does not know dreams of being an artist, but his domineering father, who sees him not as a person, but rather as a pale copy of himself, forces him to enter a law school.
For his birthday, his parent gives Neal a red BMW and throws a birthday dinner. In the midst of the party, Neil speaks out loud – he wants to “get the answers to his life.” Hearing about this, Grant decides to help the guy. He does it in his usual style – he sets up an accident, and Neil ends up in the hospital.
After recovering, the young man meets the eccentric Dr. Ray. He, having shown him an intricate trick with cards, expresses the idea that most amazing things are not subject to reason only because a person perceives everything that happens solely on the basis of past experience.
Catching a special, hidden meaning in the words of the doctor, Neil seems to “take off his shoes” and suddenly begins to notice billboards with a dream girl on the streets. Hoping to meet her, he starts looking for clues, and eventually ends up in a certain office on the 13th floor. At the same time, he is definitely convinced that there can be no thirteenth floor in this house. There he meets Ray again, who asks the guy to go to the city of Danver and deliver a package to a certain Robin Fields. In return, he will get what he wants.
Neal agrees, although he realizes that the task is a trick: a city called Danver does not exist. Ray mentioned that the only way to get there was via Highway 60. This route is also not on the maps, and Neil, trying to figure out how to be, meets with the one who started it all – with Grant. He gives the young man a magic ball that is able to answer any question. After accepting the gift, Neil embarks on the strangest journey of his life.
The role of Neil Oliver was played by James Marsden. Frame from the film.
On the way, he constantly consults with the ball and, following his prompts, meets a variety of people – a girl who gives herself to everyone she meets (the meaning of her actions is that she hopes to find that one), a gourmet suffering from a small stomach, oncological a patient who tries to force people to stop lying through violence …
He meets the city of Benton, where people come of age at the age of 13 and after that all they do is use drugs. A little later, Neil finds himself in a museum of fake art and sees blasphemy: the original paintings of the great masters are exhibited under the guise of cheap copies. The founder of this museum was none other than his old friend Grant.
And a little later, Neil, who has already ceased to be surprised at everything he sees, ends up in Morlow. Only lawyers live here, who earn their living by starting litigation with random travelers. Here the guy is accused of hitting a cat on one of the residents of the city and sent to prison. It is there that he meets Lynn, the girl from his dreams.
Closer to the final, he decides to refuse the “services” of the ball and finally arrives in Danver. There he learns about a terrible murder that happened in the city – a certain young man quarreled strongly with his father and killed him. Neil, involuntarily remembering the relationship with his own parent, suddenly realizes that he himself could be the killer …
Once in the city club “Rainbow”, the young man meets Ray again. He is revealed to be Grant’s cousin. Soon the executor of one desire himself appears. After he lights a cigarette, Neil passes out. Recovering, the guy discovers that he is again in the hospital. At first it seems to him that his whole amazing journey is just a dream, but when he finds a playing card with the logo of the Rainbow club, he realizes that everything was real.
Ending explanation Interstate 60
The explanation for the ending looks like this. Neil leaves the hospital, goes to his father and resolutely tells him that he has already chosen his path – he wants to be an artist and will be one. Soon his sister Nancy announces excitedly that one of his paintings is of interest and they want to buy it.
Rushing into the gallery, the young man discovers that his painting is not interested in anyone, but Lynn. Appearing out of nowhere, Grant informs Nancy that the couple will be fine.
The meaning of the ending of the film Interstate 60 is easy to understand, it has only one interpretation: at the very beginning, Grant mentioned that “people themselves do not know what they want.” During the journey, Neil found real, inner freedom only when he stopped consulting with the ball and threw it away. It’s time to make your own decisions. And he did it.
The meaning of the film Interstate 60
To understand the essence of the film Interstate 60, you need to refer to the personality of the main character of the picture. The protagonist of the film, Neil, is a handsome, talented young man. However, he is completely incapable of making decisions on his own. His father reads him a career as a lawyer, but the young man wants to become an artist.
He is so dependent on his parents that he allows them to run his life – they even choose a girl for him. However, Neil is indifferent to her. He dreams of another, who has become a muse for him.
Neil shifts responsibility for decision making to a computer program. On his birthday, he makes a wish: he wants to get answers to questions that have been tormenting him for a long time. And from this moment begins the most interesting part of the film Interstate 60: mythical creatures come to the aid of an overgrown infantile: the one-wish grantor Grant and his mysterious cousin Ray.
Amy Smart as Lynn Lindey. Frame from the film.
With jokes, Grant makes the young man understand that, in principle, he himself became the cause of all his failures. And here lies the key to this image: Grant is not only a trickster, but also an archetypal mentor.
Ray sends Neil on a journey down the non-existent Interstate 60 with Grant as his guide. The trip is designed to give Neal knowledge through experience: only in this way can he find answers to his questions.
On Interstate 60, a young man meets people who personify sins or vices: voluptuousness, gluttony, perjury, anger, etc. He sees that the fulfillment of cherished desires does not make a person happy. In two towns, he realizes the importance of one thing in his life. The point is that the vast majority of people do not understand art, and lawyers are often greedy scoundrels.
In their analysis, viewers note that a trip along Highway 60 is the path to knowledge. At the end of the journey, Neil finds true love and gains the ability to take his first steps on his own. And it all starts with the fact that Ray opens the eyes of the main character: experience makes our perception habitual, as if erased, and we can no longer understand what is real and what is not. Here it is appropriate to recall such a concept as “thing in itself”, or “unknowable”. This concept is found in Kant. Its meaning lies in the fact that things do not exist as we are able to see and understand them.
Ray is played by Christopher Lloyd. Frame from the film.
The idea that there is something beyond our mind can be found in Karl Popper, philosopher and sociologist. He believed that our experience is a combination of biological and cultural factors. But it cannot display the whole variety of facts of reality.
Neil also encounters the idea that the human mind has its limits. Many people think that a new experience will bring happiness, but Neil soon becomes convinced that this is not always the case. Crossing a border often leads to crisis, chaos, and even madness.
And only through true art (this idea sounds quite distinctly in Interstate 60) can a person overcome his limitations and get, as Maurice Blanchot once put it, “an immense experience of depth.” Philosophical knowledge of the world allows you to balance on the border of the possible and the impossible. According to Heidegger, such an openness of boundaries allows one to move on to the truth of being.
On Interstate 60, Neil is convinced of the truth of Sartre’s statement, which at first glance is paradoxical: “Man is doomed to be free.” Indeed, each of us makes his own choice and is responsible for it. At the end of the journey, Neil begins to consciously and responsibly relate to his choice and, as a result, finds happiness.
Chris Cooper as Bob Cody. Frame from the film.
Similar films of Interstate 60
Here are a few more films similar in meaning to Interstate 60:
- “Big Fish” (USA, 2003). A young man loses his father, about whose life he knew practically nothing. In search of the truth, he goes on an exciting journey;
- “Basic Principles of Goodness” (USA, 2016). The writer, who is in a creative crisis, moonlights as a nurse for a young man chained to a wheelchair. Their rocky relationship leads to them embarking on a journey in search of themselves;
- “Mr. Destiny” (USA, 1990). The life of an ordinary clerk Larry changes after he gets drunk and pours his heart out to the bartender.