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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Small Business, Big Breakthrough

Parallel on IMDb

Plot Overview

man w/a plan

studyingIn some serene world Marissa Whittacum (Kathleen Quinlan) engages her husband Edward about a book of art while they're about to settle in for the night. He's listening to classical music on the Victrola; they do have electric lights, just no amplification. They live on a quiet residential street—except for the crickets—that manages without outdoor lighting, and their german shepherd named Dante is an angel not disturbed by a masked intruder (Leanna Brodie.) When Marissa can't remember a conversation she'd just had with her Edward before she returned to bed, there are no recriminations about not listening to each other. She is a “sweet, middle-aged, romantic woman” and all's right with the world. So one would think were it not for the eerie back­ground music.

WelcomeA couple years later finds four business persons, friends of each other, renting this same multi-story house, or one architec­turally identical to it. They've just experienced a setback that jeopardizes making rent. Devin Parkes (Ami Ameen) and Noel (Martin Wallström) have been B&W BFF since high school when they did a thriving business in fake driver's licenses. After graduation Devin brought his girl­friend Leena Fortier (Georgia King) on board, but their relation­ship couldn't survive five years of working together. They added another, Josh (Mark O'Brien) for his variegated work experience and set up Pixel-Too, but that company went bust when Devin under stress went haring off (“He just runs.”) Now they have a promising app in the works, or it was until Devin spilled the beans trying to recruit Seth Reid (Chad Krowchuk) who pirated the idea and is about to beat them to market. They take out their frustration on the old house despite likely losing their security deposit.

boy and girl on computerIn doing so they discover a secret passageway that leads to a boarded-up attic where exists a multi­verse portal. A time dilation allows them to wander around in parallel universes searching for input and coming right back to near when they started. We get to see how they divvy up the work load. Josh and Noel do coding, Leena an artiste designs the cover art, and Devin half­heartedly helps with research, sleeps all day, and takes off when the going gets rough. If he weren't their friend, one might take him for a token Negro. Local barkeep Carmen (Alyssa Diaz) tells them the former, lady resident of their rental “moved there after her husband passed” and became a hermitess until she up and disappeared one day with­out a trace. The house has “bad energy,” she says. The hermit's journal they discover recounts her obsession with trying to find an alternate universe where her husband is yet alive. These guys are too immature to handle the repercussions of what they're dealing with and their cohesiveness as a group slowly devolves (“We might not be together like this for much longer.”)


at the libraryThe first order of business after discovering the portal is research, to find data on what's different among the alternate universes. To that end they divvy up subjects and hit the library. Devin's subject is history where he discovers little difference: “a few minor bits about the Louisiana Purchase, but it's just word choice. Events are the same.” Per Wheeler and Becker, “The treaty between the United States and France was signed in Paris on April 30, 1803, and the United States took formal possession of the Louisiana Territory on December 20, 1803” (103n.) Right.

As for black history, the Louisiana Purchase … entailed a long political debate about free states and slave states and the status of the Negro. One may read in George Danger­field, The Era of Good Feelings, about the Missouri debate leading to the Missouri Compromise:

Thus we can hardly blame the members of the Sixteenth Congress if … their assault upon Missouri should have failed because they could not bring them­selves to believe in the equality of the Negro. The most humane philosophers had been unable to reach this conclusion. (234–5)

Okay, what else is new? They discover that “decisions involving artistic inspiration have a higher variation.” That's because, “creative people are solitary, free thinking, stubborn, independent.” There­fore these entre­pren­eurs will “focus on industries with highly creative decision makers.”

In their living room shared with themselves in multiple universes hangs a map of North America. The camera pans it many times through­out the film. Its U.S. out­line as expected always includes Louisiana; indeed, it's labeled UNITED STATES every time. That means the union was preserved, the North having won the Civil War in all universes. Sameness in this movie equates to mediocrity. The north won for their numerical superiority, which in a democracy caused them to prevail. The ideas of the numerically inferior south, what­ever their merit, could not win the war. Those in the Bible Belt could explain that after the Flood there was an incident, Gen. 9:20-22, where Noah got drunk on wine and was exposed in all his glory to his youngest son Ham who brazenly viewed him so. Noah's other two sons, Shem and Japheth, covered him up, Gen. 9:23. Ham had violated him in some way, Gen. 9:24. Noah's curse puts Ham's youngest son Canaan in a position of servitude, Gen. 9:25. Noah's other two sons Shem, Gen. 9:26, and Japheth, Gen. 9:27, were blessed by Noah. Writer Bodie Hodge (134) quotes “Bible Questions and Answers,” The Golden Age (July 24, 1929): p. 702.

Question: Is there anything in the Bible that reveals the origin of the Negro?

Answer: It is generally believed that the curse which Noah pronounced upon Canaan was the origin of the Black race. Certain it is that when Noah said, “Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be to his brethren,” he pictured the future of the Colored race.

I elaborate in another review.

William P. Pickett (570) quotes John Ambrose Price on the Negro's state: “The negro being a descendent of Ham, can be made subservient to human use, for his manifest destiny is that of a servant, and the ordinance of God requires that he should be placed in a sub­or­din­ate position to a superior race” (275).

Pickett, discussing Abraham Lincoln's solution to the negro problem (30), quotes from Thomas Dixon, Jr.:

wildebeestThe negro has held the continent of Africa since the dawn of history, crunching acres of diamonds beneath his feet. Yet he never picked one up from the dust until the white man showed him its light. His land swarmed with powerful and docile animals, yet he never built a harness, cart or sled. A hunter by necessity, he never made an axe, spear or arrow­head worth preserving beyond the moment of its use. In a land of stone and timber, he never carved a block, sawed a foot of lumber or built a house save of broken sticks and mud, and for four thousand years he gazed upon the sea, yet never dreamed of a sail.

After the Civil War came reconstruction and then school desegregation as mentioned in Lionel Hampton's autobiography:

I remember one time Walter White, head of the NAACP, … told me about what led up to the Supreme Court decision in the school desegregation case in 1954. Walter told me he … phoned Eisenhower and requested an appointment. He said he went there and listed all the reasons why school segregation was wrong. He said that if the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case Brown v. Board of Education and ruled [for] desegregation, it would break the back of segregation in American society. He said, “Mr. President, this is the last chance for you to help us.” Eisenhower listened, didn't say a word. But then he picked up the telephone, and said, “Get me Chief Justice Earl Warren.” And he got on the phone with Warren, and he said he knew the president was not supposed to put pressure on the Supreme Court, but he was going to send Walter White over to talk to him about the case. And the Supreme Court decided to hear the case and ruled in favor of the NAACP lawyers and desegregation. (97–98)

busingThat was a violation of the separation of powers, for what it's worth. In Sonia Maasik & Jack Solomon, Signs of Life in the USA, Stuart Buck “explains how the well-intentioned policies of desegregation eventually led to … a reversal of intention” (Maasik 637),

because desegregation undermined one of the traditional centers of the black community: the school. In the segregated schools, black children had consistently seen other blacks succeeding in the academic worlds. The authority figures and role models—that is, the teachers and principals—were virtually always black. And the best students in black schools were black as well. ¶This ended with desegregation. (Maasik 639)

As John McWhorter points out, the “demise of segregation” helped “pave the way for the ‘acting white’ charge. With the closing of the black schools after desegregation orders, black students began going to school with white ones in larger numbers than ever before, which meant that whites were available for black students to model them­selves against” (McWhorter 64–65).

In integrated schools if a black kid started getting good grades, his peers would accuse him of “acting white.” With such a disincentive to achieve, that kid would go back home on the bus under­educated. In “Parallel” all the time­lines have integrated schools, other­wise (White) Noel wouldn't have had his (black) friend Devin from high school to accompany him in every universe.

Martin Luther King (MLK) in his Letter From Birmingham Jail wrote that, “We must use time creatively.” That didn't happen so much, judging by the sameness of results in this movie on parallels. He ends his letter with an apology: “If I have said any­thing in this letter that is an over­state­ment of the truth and is indicative of an unreason­able impatience, I beg you to forgive me.” Let's not hold it against him; he was caught up in the fever of his times. Robert H. Bork in Slouching Towards Gomorrah (238) writes:

[Researchers] Peter Brimelow and Leslie Spencer … quote Charles Murray: “There's hardly a single outcome—black voting rights, access to public accommodation, employment, particularly in white collar jobs—that couldn't have been predicted on the basis of pre-1964 trend lines.” “That's pretty devastating,” the authors say. “It suggests that we have spent trillions of dollars to create an out­come that would have happened even if the govern­ment had done nothing.”

Devin reads online back issues of The Seattle Sentinel in the parallel universes he visits looking for one in which his father wasn't the “Crooked Businessman [who] Chooses Suicide Over Prison.” Every time his dad is portrayed in print as “a construction official in the City Planning Department,” irrespective of how the civil rights movement played out. It caused Devin trouble at school when his school­mates taunted him about his dad's imminent arrest. That's because, “When an investigation like that breaks in a small town, it becomes big news.” It's another instance of, (Prov. 30:21-22) “The earth is disquieted, and … it cannot bear: For a servant when he reigneth.”

Production Values

” (2018) was directed by Isaac Ezban. It was written by Scott Blaszak. It stars Aml Ameen, Martin Wallström, Mark O'Brien and Georgia King. We got some fine acting from unknowns. The two similar looking White Guys on the same team and in the same role were hard to differ­entiate unless you pay close attention or watch the movie more than once (recommended.)

It's not rated but we hear the eff-word more than once and there's a necessarily memorable after-sex scene where a guy's black chest is exposed and a girl's white back. In the story any white girl interested in a black guy is portrayed as either drunk, perverted, or having some­thing wrong with her. It was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada where we see lots of snow and trees. Shifting light and dizzying camera angles contribute to an eerie ambiance. It's creepy enough that special effects are not needed. It's 1¾ hours long.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

The sci-fi comes across as a pocket trick of four buddies who spend the whole movie acting stupidly and who would probably act stupid no matter what venture they attempted. The tension is tight right up till the end. That whole portal in the attic bit confirms our suspicions why not to go up there. All in all it was a pretty satisfying if low budget film. I'd say don't miss it. I found my DVD on RedBox.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Suitability for children: Not rated. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Good for late night viewing. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software

Bork, Robert H. Slouching Towards Gomorrah. New York: HarperCollins, 1996. Print.

Dangerfield, George. The Era of Good Feelings. New York: Harbinger Books, 1963. Print.

Hampton, Lionel (with James Haskins). Hamp an Autobiography. New York: Amistad, 1993. Print.

Hodge, Bodie. Tower of Babel: The Cultural History of Our Ancestors. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Pub., 2013. Print.

King Jr., Martin Luther. Letter From Birmingham Jail. 1963. Print.

Maasik, Sonia and Jack Solomon. Signs of Life in the U.S.A.. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2012. Print.

McWhorter, John. Winning the Race: Beyond the Crisis in Black America. (New York: Gotham, 2006), As quoted in Maasik.

Pickett, William P. The Negro Problem: Abraham Lincoln's Solution. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1909. Print.

Price, John Ambrose. The Negro, Past, Present, and Future. Neale Publishing Co., 1907. As quoted in Pickett.

Wheeler, William Bruce and Susan D. Becker. Discovering the American Past Third edition. Vol. II: Since 1865. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1994. Print.