After the Dark Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

The film After the Dark (also titled The Philosophers outside the U.S.), since its release in 2013, has caused a mixed reaction. At its premiere screening, the film received positive reviews. But then on various sites, critics received conflicting assessments. Some were delighted, some were disappointed. What is so special about this film that it was received so differently?

What is After the Dark about? Survival Lesson”

In the center of the plot is a group of 20 students of different nationalities and from different countries of the world at a philosophy lesson in one of the colleges in Jakarta (Indonesia). The school year is ending. Instructor, Mr. Zimit, we offer an experiment as a master’s exam. The essence of the experiment is as follows: the atomic apocalypse has come; there is one bunker in which only ten people can live without problems for 1 year. The task of these ten is to survive, and after a year to get out of the bunker to continue the human race. However, there are 20 students and 10 places?

Each student pulls a piece of paper out of the box, indicating his specialty before the apocalypse: electrician, harpist, soldier, senator, poet, carpenter, surgeon, and so on. How now, guided by the data on the professions of students, decide who will live and who will not?


The moderator of this experiment, the teacher, using logic and rationality, directing the reasoning of students, pushes them to choose those with useful specialties. Doomed Erik Zimit shoots, calling it their salvation from a painful death as a result of exposure. A group of rescued people does not let the killer into the bunker. But he designed the bunker, and he knew the code to open the doors. Learned about it too late. A year later, the group was unable to leave the bunker and died. The experiment failed.

Repeat experiment

Adjustments are made to the repeated experiment. Something new is added to the existing specializations. It changes the composition of the group. History with the choice of the saved and the doomed repeats itself. At the forefront of selection lies the logic of the teacher – only specialists in the industries necessary to restore normal life in the post-apocalypse, healthy, strong and smart, should be saved.

The second experiment also fails. During the conflict in the bunker, Mr. Zimit is shot in the ear. He opens the doors of the bunker and everyone is killed by the atomic fire. Fuel is added to the fire by the attempt of the teacher, revealed by James, a friend of Petra, to artificially lower his score. Therefore, the last experiment is proposed by Petra.

Last experiment

Selected the “survivors” of Peter. Everyone she chose was the opposite of the previous groups. The “ark” included a poet with cards (a poker champion), a harpist with autism, a wine auctioneer with an IQ of 200, an orthopedic surgeon, possibly infected with Ebola (or maybe not), a singer. The choice of Petra upset the teacher, who in turbo mode lowered her mark in philosophy.

Those rescued in the bunker lived a wonderful year, enjoying life, satisfying themselves emotionally and not only, without experiencing pressure from outside.

In the end, everyone died. But before they died, they enjoyed life for a year, did not suffer emotionally from someone’s strong-willed hand, became close so that they were ready to die for each other.

What’s the point?

Mr. Zimit based his experiments on rationalism, expediency, pragmatism right up. His version rejected emotion as a concept for the sake of survival. Cold calculation. In two rounds, Mr. Zimit tried to neutralize the emotions that prevent a person from becoming a soulless robot, justifying aggression. It was Eric’s coldness, hardness and callousness that failed both experiments.

Petra’s version is Zimit’s answer. Not always a cold calculation and a rational approach can be right. Petra’s version shows that emotions are important to survival, as are skills. Emotions are what make us special. Without them, the man of civilization could go mad in the Stone Age. And skills are acquired.

What is the meaning of the ending After the Dark

In the end, it became clear: Eric Zimit, who was in love with Petra, pursued two goals in the experiment – 1) to “fill up” the rival James as much as possible and 2) in this way to show Petra his superiority in intelligence and keep her from leaving Jakarta. But the girl loved James. No rationalism, philosophy or pragmatism can influence her choice.

As the film presented three versions of events for the survivors, so the ending itself was presented in three possible versions: 1) to live on, indulging in thought, 2) to commit suicide, 3) to live on, with thoughts about the lost.

Everyone has the right to choose.

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