Saturday, June 28, 2014

Radio Free Albemuth is the Most Faithful Philip K. Dick Adaptation -- But not just for PKD-Heads Only!

This is a surprisingly successful indie film that was made on a tiny budget, pulled off with a lot of creativity and elbow grease. I'm a huge fan of PKD and writing a book about his mystical experiences, so forgive my bias, but I think that it deserves better than its gotten in some of these reviews. When you grok the context, that it's a goofy science fiction movie in a long tradition, the understandable flaws (which I don't find distracting in the least from the story, which is captured accurately to the letter and faithfully to the spirit) can be forgiven. The cast is great, and their performances are more than adequate to capture Dick's characters. if you can imagine how rushed their filming schedule must have been, what small flaws can be found in delivery can be forgiven. For the most part, the actors know their characters and make them come alive, but because a lot of what is happening is quiet or subtle the big city critics have mistaken this for "lifeless" acting. Considering these actors had weeks to create their characters, I'd say they've accomplished an amazing feat of bringing them to life. Whigham's portrayal of Phil Dick is a great example. He's deadpan and sardonic, not resorting to the cheap jokes that Bill Pullman did when he played the crazy PKD. And some critic has the nerve to complain that he's not wild and crazy enough? This criticism misunderstands the character, which is how PKD viewed himself, cool and witty, and Whigham NAILS THAT. Winnick is amazing as his wife, sexy and sweet, capturing the paradoxical essence of the Dickian wife archetype. She's concerned about her husband to the point of being protective and controlling, annoyed and defensive when he talks about his weird experiences. Alanis is not there as a gimmick, she pulls off her interpretation of Silvia, which I might disagree with at points but don't dislike at all. This movie is very much worth your time if you like philosophical science fiction, and you don't need to be a diehard Philip K. Dick fan to appreciate what it's doing. It's only in theaters for a few more days, so go!

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