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TV show review: CONTINUUM season 4
PHOTOGRAPHY

RADIO FREE ALBEMUTH

DVD review by David Blackwell

 

DETAILS: 111 minutes, audio commentary, theatrical trailer

VIDEO: 1.78:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

AUDIO: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Dolby Stereo

Subtitle: none (only English close captioning)

 

STUDIO: Freestyle Digital Media/ Discovery Productions/ Open Pictures

RELEASE DATES: 10-7-2014

Its 1985 in an alternate reality where a Berkeley (California) record store clerk Nick Brady (Jonathan Scarfe) begins to experience strange visions from an extraterrestrial intelligence called VALIS.   He moves to Los Angeles with his wife Rachel (Katheryn Winnick) where he becomes a successful music company executive.  His life intertwines with his friend Phil (Shea Whigham) who is a science fiction writer (who is basically a version of author Phillip K. Dick) and a kindred spirit named Silvia (Alanis Morissette).   The United States is losing more freedom under the rule of U.S. President Fremont (Scott Wilson) and his KGB-like police called the Friends of the American People aka FAP.

 

I really enjoyed this adaptation of one of Phillip K. Dick’s last novel which went unpublished until after the author died and his friend discovered the manuscript given to him wasn’t for Valis, but it was actually another novel under its early title of Valis System A.  Shea Whigham looks like a younger version of Phillip K. Dick while Jonahan Scarfe looks like a young Val Kilmer.  RADIO FREE ALBEMUTH combines a variety of theories and religious philosophy combined with a reflection of today’s world (so the novel was a little prophetic in a way as Dick was using satire to make fun of the government) and it is also an autobiographical in many ways since Dick has a fictional version of himself and incorporates stuff he experienced into the story.   The movie took a long time to come out for a movie that was shot in 2007 and finally released on DVD (and VOD) in 2014.  It is a low budget labor of love which fans of science fiction, Phillip K. Dick, and thought provoking films should watch.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:
Audio commentary with screenwriter/ director Alan Simon who tells how the film was made along with the challenges and last minute changes.  He goes on to point the real life events in Phillip K. Dick’s life which were part of the novel and movie.   This commentary track also gives insight into the late life and works of the author and he reveals he has the rights to another Phillip K. Dick book (FLOW MY TEARS THE POLICEMAN SAID) which Alan hopes to make into a movie.

 

Also included on the disc is the theatrical trailer.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:  RADIO FREE ALBEMUTH is one of the most faithful adaptations of Phillip K Dick’s novels and it makes me want to check out more of his novels (besides what I have read).  The audio commentary is a must listen and I hope Alan Simon gets to adapt more of Dick’s novels.

 

This review is 10-13-2014 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com

 

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