Rob Ager (born 1973) is a British internet-based independent film director, self-help theorist and political activist who is best known for his analytic discussions of themes, hidden messages and other detailed stuff in mainstream films. His Web site, "Collative Learning", features many written analyses and video reviews of films like 2001: A Space Odyssey
, A Clockwork Orange
, The Big Lebowski
, The Shining
, Full Metal Jacket
, Pulp Fiction
, Taxi Driver
, The Warriors
, The Thing (1982)
, No Country for Old Men
, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
, Mulholland Drive
, The Birds
and Starship Troopers
, as well as non-movie related stuff, like hidden symbolism in the work of pop band The Prodigy
. He became notable after he posted his videos on YouTube
, where he attracted a large audience.
Some of Ager's opinions and interpretations have been criticized by some as being a bit far-fetched
or just planting Epileptic Trees
, but his reviews are quite interesting and shed new light (if only from a Fanwanky
perspective) on films you may already know by heart.
Rob Ager provides examples of:
- Audience Participation: He often changes or adapts earlier versions of his analyses, based on interesting suggestions or new information, sent in by readers and viewers.
- Call Back and Continuity Nod: He notices several call-backs and continuity nods to earlier scenes in certain films. Or to other films by that same director.
- Censor Box: He censors nudity so that YouTube doesn't remove his videos.
- The Conspiracy: His videos often fuel these kinds of ideas and he made an entire video on how to make sense out of conspiracy theories.
- Epileptic Trees: One of Ager's claims-to-fame was spending a long time explaining that while Kubrick and Clark themselves said it was coincidence that the computer HAL in "2001:A Space Odyssey" actually stood for IBM (to the point of it being made fun of in the book sequel), Ager cites IBM's Product Placement in the film as proof that Kubrick pushing the HAL/IBM angle.
- Out-of-Character Moment: Despite his reputation for discovering previously overlooked details and facts Ager was blissfully and mind boggingly unaware that the film Starship Troopers had satirical anti-militaristic undertones.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: He doesn't hide his local accent.
- Properly Paranoid: His detractors dismiss Ager often as being nothing more than a conspiracy theorist. He defends himself by stating that he just reviews films and doesn't rally people to believe in conspiracy theories. Though his own opinions sometimes shine through (see also below: With Europe But Not Of It)
- Reference Overdosed: Ager uses a lot of sources and cites them by name, too.
- Scenery Porn: Ager's reviews make you appreciate the attention to details and backgrounds in films more.
- Subliminal Seduction: He finds several examples of these. He also does this in his own movie projects.
- With Europe But Not Of It: According to Ager, Stanley Kubrick intended the Nazi imagery in A Clockwork Orange as a warning for the hidden agenda of the European Union and infiltration of Nazi and Fascist ideologies within it. As some critics have noticed: Ager was once a member of the Liverpudlian representative of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), which opposes Britainís membership of the European Union. This makes him not completely unbiased regarding the matter.
- World of Symbolism: Or Faux Symbolism to some.