984: Prisoner of the Future (1982)

Article 2591 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-9-2008
Posting Date: 9-16-2008
Directed by Tibor Takacs
Featuring Stephen Markle, Michele Chicoine, David Clement
Country: Canada

An executive finds himself a prisoner when a new political regime comes into power, and he is being tortured to confess to crimes he didn’t commit.

One of my books describes this movie as being Kafkaesque, but I think it lacks the maddening ambiguity of Kafka’s work; I’d say it’s a lot more Orwellian dystopic. From a distance, I rather admire the movie; it’s always a bit interesting to see a science fiction movie from the period that wasn’t flaunting a STAR WARS influence. Nevertheless, I have to admit that, despite all the brooding nihilism and darkness here, I watched the movie with only mild interest. I attribute this to the fact that the movie simply isn’t very convincing. It’s not the weak special effects; though the roller-skating enforcer robots are pretty silly, they aren’t show-stoppers, if you know what I mean. No, it’s more the confused script, the dull characters (Don Francks’ attempts to make his Warden character more eccentric is more distracting than effective), and a general lack of conviction. In short, I never really believe what’s happening, or that it really matters; even the final twist is more of a shrug than a shock. It’s a nice try, but not really a success.


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