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The Penultimate Truth About Philip K. Dick (2007)

Video  -  Documentary  -  2007 (Argentina)
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A Fine Dickumentary
17 May 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A documentary on the life of cult author Philip K. Dick...shouldn't that be called a Dickumentary? Well, whatever you choose to call it, 2008's "The Penultimate Truth About Philip K. Dick" should certainly manage to please fans of this great writer. At 88 minutes, it is hardly an in-depth affair, and inveterate Dickheads may come away with a sense of having gleaned nothing new. But for the average Dick admirer, like me, who has read a dozen or so of the man's books, is aware of the outlines of his life and wants to know more, the picture should prove invaluable. The film is fairly authoritative, managing to incorporate interviews with 16 people who knew Phil very well, including his 2nd, 3rd and 5th wife (Kleo, Anne and Tessa), his stepdaughter Tandi Ford, fellow writers Ray Nelson, Tim Powers and Dan O'Bannon, his therapist Barry Spatz, and a bunch of girlfriends and high school buddies. These talking heads serve to give an honest and well-rounded picture of the often troubled, often brilliant author. What the film doesn't do is go into the books themselves, and so those looking to better understand the Ubik spray can or the Jungian subtext in "A Maze of Death," for example, are advised to look elsewhere. As for the framing device in the film that seems to bother so many (government researchers examining Dick's life), well, it is certainly no more silly or offensive than the framing device in the recent Doors doc "When You're Strange," with Jim Morrison driving in the desert and listening to reports of his own demise. I found this Dickumentary to be very entertaining and informative, actually, and only wish that the filmmakers could have included Phil's Metz, France speech in its entirety, rather than just the snippets that are shown. Video footage of this fascinating personality is rare enough, and more would have been better. Quibbles aside, though, this is a perfect film for all Dick admirers to watch in the privacy of their own conapt....


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