A New Yorker awakens to find himself in a place called The Village run by a man known as Two. As everyone in The Village is referred to only by a number, everyone in The Village refers to him as Six - despite he himself knowing that he has another name - and seems to know who he is. He is told he lives in The Village and that The Village is the only reality there is. Six's mission becomes to find out where The Village is, who Two is and why he is seemingly keeping him prisoner in The Village (despite Two stating that Six is a free man), and how he can escape to his life back in New York. Six has to learn who among the Villagers he can trust - who include a doctor named 313, a cab driver named 147, and Two's own son named 11-12 - in his quest to escape from The Village. Six also has recurring memories of his life in New York, including an encounter with a woman named Lucy, which may be part of the key to discovering why he's in The Village. Written by
1967's Cold War and its counter culture are gone; they've been replaced by 2009's global village and its consumer culture. So 2009's Prisoner is no longer an angry young man fighting for his identity against secret government policies and flagrant brainwashing, he's an angst-ridden 30-something trying to hang on to his identity in the face of overwhelming marketing and soothing pharmaceuticals.
2009's The Prisoner takes all the familiar elements of 1967's cult classic and re-interprets them in a relevant way, just like good remakes are supposed to. The psychedelic, lava-lamp surrealism of the sixties may be gone, but, don't worry, they've been replaced by the post-modern, dream-like surrealism of the oughts.
Yes, the Village still needs to assimilate No. 6, but it no longer cares why he would wish to resign from its society, it only wants him to understand that he can't. Instead of foiling No. 6's repeated escape attempts from the superficially charming, but inherently oppressive, Village, this new Village, still just as pleasant-looking, and oppressive, just makes it clear that there is no place else to escape to. The consumer culture and its global village are everywhere now. There is no escape.
So, instead of a government desperately trying Pavlovian conditioning, hypnotic suggestion, and hallucinogens in the water, a corporation tries matching people with their perfect mates, giving them mind-numbing jobs to take their minds off their melancholy, distracting them with melodramatic soap operas, and, maybe, making them feel a little better with some gene-therapy.
Sure, everyone's still under surveillance in this Village, but this time, its not the Village government trying to identify revolutionaries so it can silence them, its the Summakor corporation trying to identify dreamers so it can subject them to a concentrated dose of consumer culture. And if that doesn't work, maybe a few pharmaceuticals and a promotion will co-opt the more troublesome ones.
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