The Tone Poems Of Philip K Dick

What makes the collective work of PDK mesmerizing, inaccessible, and at the same time almost addictively taunting in the world of film? When taken as an individual work, each of PKD’s stories becomes a nightmare to reproduce in any way faithfully and effectively on the screen, be it large or small. Whatever triumph the end product of Bladerunner was (and it most certainly was cinematic genius in many ways) it cannot hold up against the original written word, which was so much more textured and layered.

The dichotomy of taking PKD’s works, many of which are little more than sketchy short stories and bringing them to film is becoming a reality as more mainstream producers become familiar with unique dystopian of the kipple ridden genius. In direct opposition to Bladerunner, in which the film makers took a fully developed novel and pared it down significantly and amputated a number of major themes, “The Adjustment Team” is really nothing more than a snippet of terror,  allowing the reader a glimpse into a logical dystopian future. How this translates from reader to viewer is yet to be seen.

The latest foray into future shock is The Adjustment Bureau, a feature film based on PKD’s “The Adjustment Team,” a 17 page short story; an interesting project on many fronts.  The film is written and directed by George Nolfi (The Bourne Ultimatum) and stars Matt Damon, Emily Blunt and John Slattery. In a terrifying mirror image of guardian angels and free will, PKD hits hard upon the themes of free will and predestination, forcing the reader to dwell on the premise that all is not as one observes, nothing new to even the casual reader of his work.

How will this play? Here is a clue. Looking back at what may be the finest PKD translation to the screen, Bladerunner, as unsatisfying as the comparison between book and movie was, each stood up on their own as cautionary tale.

This is Dome sayin’:  I will see the film based on the track record of the writer and director. I caution anyone who really cares to read the story. You won’t be disappointed. You will be frightened.

Comments are closed.

RSS for Posts RSS for Comments