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Entry updated 2 February 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (2007). IEG Virtual Studios and Revolution Studios present a Saturn Films/Broken Road production. Directed by Lee Tamahori. Written by Gary Goldman and Jonathan Hensleigh and Paul Bernbaum; screen story by Goldman, based on "The Golden Man" (April 1954 If) by Philip K Dick. Cast includes Jessica Biel, Nicolas Cage, Peter Falk, Tory Kittles, Thomas Kretschmann and Julianne Moore. 92 minutes. Colour.

Goldman (see Watchmen), who also worked on Total Recall (1990) and Minority Report (2002), owned the rights to Dick's story about a Mutant post-human youth whose power of Precognition obviates the need for intelligence, morality, or anything save the reproductive urge; but to get the film greenlit he had to retool it as a vehicle for Cage, who in the final version becomes a stage magician (in Goldman's drafts a gambler) whose Time Viewing powers are restricted to the next two minutes. Later writers moved the narrative trajectory still further from the source, so that in the finished film Cage's character is hunted by the FBI in order for his powers to help pre-empt a terrorist attack. Dick saw his story as a counterblast to John W Campbell's enthusiasm for mutants as humanity's Evolutionary salvation, but the film effectively reinstates the Campbellian orthodoxy, with Cage in his default screen persona as a misunderstood Superhero. If little of Dick's conception survives, the film nevertheless remains an interesting experiment in Time Out of Sequence as an action-film device, its narrative rewinding and replaying as Cage's character solves the maze of forking paths by iterated experiment and backtracking, until an audacious if unsatisfying non-ending where the last hour of the film is unwound and reset. [NL]


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