Guest-reviewer David Sherr gives 5 stars to this 10-part Amazon Studio Series production, which he binge-watched one recent weekend. Says David:
The Man in the High Castle is a complex story of espionage and betrayal based on a 1963 Hugo Award-winning novel by Philip K. Dick. It’s produced by Ridley Scott, who directed Blade Runner (1982), based on another of Dick’s dystopian tales, and Frank Spotniz (The X-Files). The story provides an alternative history: Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany win World War II, and the United States is under totalitarian rule.
While very few movies are as compelling as the book that inspired them, this one holds true to its source in essential plot and character development. (This Gizmodo review describes some of the differences, for fans of the book.) The series is perfectly paced with tight dialogue and uniformly superior directing and acting. The cinematography is exquisite—lingering shots in muted color settings.
Among the production’s leading actors are Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans, Luke KleinTank. One particularly outstanding and subtle performance is that of Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as the melancholy but kind US Japanese Trade Minister, Nobusuke Tagomi, in the accompanying photo. (You may remember him as Chang in Bernardo Bertolucci’s Academy Award-winning film, The Last Emperor , or Eddie Sakamura in Rising Sun , based on a book by Michael Crichton.)
The artistic director, costume designer, and set designer all deserve kudos. The film depicts technology, clothing, hair styles, and vehicles that appear to be from at least a decade earlier than 1962, when the story is set, which is consistent with a point in the story-line about how progress is inhibited by the effects of fascism.
The Man in the High Castle became available for Amazon streaming on November 20. It’s billed as “season one,” so there may be more to come.
Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 95%.
Guest review by David Scherr. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter: @davidsherr