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
(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
last novel which went unpublished until after the author died and his friend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.
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.
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
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