Sunday, May 27, 2012

Netflix review I wrote for Radio Free Albemuth

Radio Free Albemuth is the most faithful adaptation of a Philip K. Dick movie so far--and Linklater's A Scanner Darkly was pretty faithful! RFA is hand-crafted labor of love. The director and his wife, who co-produces, have bled for this scrappy indie film, which deserves to make it to Netflix!

It is well acted, with serious performances from a few familiar faces. Shea Whigham as Philip K. Dick was a casting coup. He nails the man's deadpan humor with his laconic delivery. This performance can be profitably contrasted with Bill Pullman's portrayal of a Phil Dick-based character in Your Name Here. Whereas Pullman's performance exploited the cheap laughs that can be had from Dick's apparent craziness, Whigham goes deeper and captures the seriousness of Dick's own sense of humor, as well as the rationality that complicates his paranoia. Jonathan Scarfe believably captures the beatific confidence of the ecstatic with his likable Nicholas Brady, and Katheryn Wynnick brilliantly captured the loving harshness of his concerned wife. Hannah Hall was terrifying as the honeytrap "teen" police state agent. Her seduction scene is the most sexy/paranoid PKD love scene on film. Finally, Alanis Morrissette pulled off the mysterious aura required of her character, who is the center of the intrigue powering the plot about a secret rebellion against a dystopian America.

Also worth noting are the special effects, which economically and with great originality present a compelling vision of Philip K. Dick's religious experiences, fictionalized in the novel.

You don't have to take my word for it: RFA just won an award: “In our view, the best adaptation of PKD’s works to screen by far!” — Sci-Fi London Film Festival

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