Your Name Here (2008 )

“Your Name Here” (2008 )

Festival Sitges 2008


coagulated realities

This was a warm visit to a very hot mind.

Before i went to what Phil Dick wrote, his writings came to me in the form of the films made over them. It’s probably not that uncommon in his case that this happens, as it isn’t with several other writers. Blade Runner is to this point the best and probably one of the few (very) good films working on his invented sense of reality(ies) and his exploration of identity paradoxes, and reality misplacements. The one thing dearest to him is probably the will to play with ambiguity and build worlds from there. He uses story lines, plots, to anchor those notions. In the way, he creates meditative self-reflective science-fiction. Terribly, his stories are fashioned in such a way that they can be appropriated as mere stories, with no juice beyond the basic structure. This is the cause of the existence of so many rubbish films made over his writings.

Now there comes this. I enjoyed the experience, but i couldn’t overcome its flaws. The film is written with a central character who is an alter-ego of Dick. But the film writing is also a mirror of Dick’s writings. So, the film writer (who is also its director) tries to be Dick playing Dick, in his game, doing what he did best. So he engenders a complex, multidimensional mind, and takes us on a ride with it. He takes the idea of parallel realities Dick so obsessively explored, and circulates in and out them. He casts ambiguities on whether we are inside or outside a fictional mind-forged world or in a “real” reality, and he goes on mixing elements of each reality, eventually making us understand all of them merged. Each reality comes wrapped around some Dick’s story. The problem is, even though this tries hard on the visual manipulation, through editing, and through visual narrative devices, in the end the stories are only worth for their value as plot lines. Non of the true ambiguity Dick would place, which, ultimately, would make us function rationally, and would work as brain starters. This was just a (sometimes) joyful ride through the mind of a fictional character. It’s entertainment, and it wasn’t supposed to be.

Bill Pullman was a miscast. Or maybe performed a badly shaped character. This character fully reminds Robin Williams teacher of ‘good will hunting’. That was a safe guy, someone who playing straight, who wouldn’t take chances, for life had made him afraid. Not the kind of guy who would get high to reach the depths of new realities, and get to know the true meaning of life. He just doesn’t pass the right kind of energy.

Last, the thing that really bothered me: the conclusion. After a whole film building an undefined world and constantly changing the rules and the premises for that world (realities) and softening the differences between them, we have a doctor who literally explains in clear scientific terms absolutely everything we have been watching, and demystifying the whole thing, thus killing any interest for any meditation post film.

My opinion: 2/5

This comment on IMDb


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