After dry falafel, there’s nothing worse than seeing your favourite novel ruined on the silver screen. Be it abysmal casting or trying to squeeze far too much into an hour and a half (James Franco’s risible adaptation of As I Lay Dying) sometimes the cinema just can’t do a book justice. Hence why I’m excited for the recent adaptation of Phillip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle that’s coming to Amazon.
The novel is one of my favourite discoveries of recent years and it’s full of mind-bending allure. It’s set in a disturbing alternative universe where everything we’ve learned from history has gone out of the window. The allies lost the war. Hitler is still alive. America is under occupation, with the East Coast under Nazi control and the West Coast is now known as the “Japanese Pacific States”. While the setting is interesting enough, it is the human narrative of Dick’s protagonists that draws you in.
In this adaptation, Alexa Davalos plays heroine Juliana a resilient martial arts expert who comes across a strange document while RSC veteran Rupert Evans is Frank Frink her jeweller boyfriend who has to hide his Jewish identity (for obvious reasons). Working against them, is SS double agent Joe Blake who you might recognise from your halcyon teenage days through his appearance in Gossip Girl. A myriad of other sub plots run through the novel and this adaptation seems like it pays equal attention to all.
Reception in the States so far has been nothing but positive, with comparisons to the oeuvre of Ridley Scott being made. One can only hope that they hype is real when it finally hits these shores.
The Man in the High Castle is available on Amazon Prime from Friday