top of page

Wed, 07 Dec


Senate House, London WC1B, UK

Kathrine Cuccuru (Sussex) "A Dinner Reservation for 12" John Wick and Predictive Processing

Time & Location

07 Dec 2022, 16:00 – 17:00

Senate House, London WC1B, UK


When John Wick utters down the phone “I’d like to make a dinner reservation for 12” it transpires that he is requesting the disposal 12 dead bodies. Following the well-established action film trope, the audience can reliably guess that Wick will survive this unsurvivable hit on his life. The excitement, the action of the film, is instead driven by the audiences’ anticipation of just how he will survive the unsurvivable. I suggest that the satisfying thrill of the action in John Wick can be best explained in terms of predictive processing (PP). My basic claim is that the viewing audience’s primary mode of prediction is anticipatory, that is, the conscious guessing of what will happen next, how will Wick survive? However, in that mode, the audience is attempting to track the non-conscious probabilistic guessing of the portrayed characters and action. It is the reliable guess that gives the audience the expectation that John Wick is highly likely to out-guess, as it turns out near perfectly so, a 12 person hit-squad, yet at the same time the audience cannot reliably guess how. I argue that the audience is aesthetically satisfied when these layers of prediction are pleasingly balanced and resolved.

Share this event

bottom of page