Schrödinger’s cat won’t leave me alone

I am being stalked by Schrödinger’s cat. I swear I hadn’t heard of this famous 1935 thought experiment until sometime last year, but ever since then it seems to be everywhere. Popping up in numerous TV shows, movies, and a book I was reading recently. I’ve even seen Schrödinger’s cat t-shirts online.

If you are unfamiliar with Schrödinger’s cat, here is the quick rundown:

We place a living cat into a steel chamber, along with a diabolical device that may or may not kill the cat at anytime. Since we cannot know whether or not the cat has been killed, the cat is both dead and alive according to quantum law, in a superposition of states. It is only when we break open the box and learn the condition of the cat that the superposition is lost, and the cat becomes one or the other (dead or alive).

So, the most recent pop culture appearance of this theory was in the movie Repo Men, where it actually plays a significant role.

Repo Men is a bloody action flick about a future where if you fall behind on your payments for expensive mechanical organs a “union” man will show up and cut you open to take it back, usually leaving you to die on the spot. (When I first saw the trailer I instantly thought of Monty Python’s Live Organ Transplant skit, so I was pleased to see it make a cameo in the film.)

Anyways, early in the movie the Jude Law’s character, Remy, briefly ponders on the paradox of Schrödinger’s cat.  Then it is not mentioned again, so I am guessing many viewers forgot about it completely by time the twist ending arrives. I won’t give away the twist, but clearly anyone that criticized the ending missed that connection.

Personally I liked the “twist” ending far better then the ending that we were led to believe was happening. The twist actually forgives some of the ridiculousness that occurs with the big hallway fight scene where Jude Law’s character feels compelled to kill people in as many ways as possible using every item in his toolbox.

The paradox could also be applied to other parts of the movie if you dig deep enough, such as Remy’s failing marriage. But that seems like a waste of a fun quantum theory.

As a side note, can I just say I think Forrest Whitaker is the best lazy eyed, excessive blinking, black actor to ever grace the screen. Seriously though, he is one of those guys that you can’t help but pay attention to. The best examples of these types are guys like Steve Buscemi and Christopher Walken. I could watch those guys read the phone book.

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