Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Prisoner AMC 6 Part MiniSeries Remake: Part 1: Arrival


Ian McKellen As 2 Jim Caviezel As 6 AMC's The Prisoner 2009
AMC's The Prisoner ~ False Paradise

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AMC's The Prisoner ~ Nightmare

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AMC's The Prisoner ~ Arrival

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The AMC channel is doing a mini-series re-make of the Patrick McGoohan 1967 British cult classic series, The Prisoner. And BONUS, for those who haven't seen the 1960s original, AMCTV.com has video of those episodes available for viewing online.

The 2009 AMC Prisoner 6 part mini-series re-do stars Ian McKellen and Jim Caviezel. There are a few differences from the original, but the basic premise remains intact. McGoohan's protagonist was involved in international espionage. When he decides to resign from living the life of a spy, he awakens from a drugged state, and finds he has been relocated to a community known as "The Village". The residents of "The Village are under constant surveillance, interrogation and are frequently drugged. No one in "The Village" is addressed by name. They are instead referred to by number. No one knows how they arrived there, there does not appear to be any way to leave, and worse when someone gets close to making an escape they are enveloped by a mysterious billowing huge white ball. The supervisor of "The Village" is a passive/aggressive tyrant known as #2. In the original, the character remained the same, but the actor portraying #2 changed periodically, which added to "The Village" resident's fear, frustration, and confusion.

In the AMC mini-series, the actor portraying #2 remains a constant---the wonderfully wicked Ian McKellen. The actor in the protagonist role is Jim Caviezel. As in the original, he is referred to as #6. Different from the original, prior to becoming a resident of "The Village" #6 is not a secret agent. Instead he lives in NYC, and is a statistician for a global corporate entity. Rather than being a spy, he spies upon citizens as they go about their lives. Tracking pedestrian, vehicular, consumer, and various other patterns. The day comes when he tires of being a mini 'big brother'. When he resigns, he is drugged, and when he awakens, he is no longer living in NYC, but is instead the newest inhabitant of "The Village".

The location shots for the remake were done in the extremely picturesque coastal southern African town of Swakopmund, Namibia. It's almost as if the locale is a supporting cast member---it's beauty lending a strong contrast to the creepiness of the goings-on in "The Village". Imagine an entire town, no check that, an entire world in an incredibly beautiful setting, but it is filled with suspicion, paranoia, deception, torture, fear, and tyranny, and from that world, there is seemingly no escape.

Mr.Caviezel's performance has been negatively reviewed by some in comparison to Mr.McGoohan's. i feel that is an unfair assessment. imho, Mr.Caviezel gives a fine performance. No it is not identical to Mr.McGoohan's---let's face it, his was legendary, but that does not mean Mr.Caviezel can not make #6 his own. i am enjoying his interpretation. Regarding Mr.McKellen---there are not sufficient words of praise. This man has a tremendous gift. With simply a look, a gesture, a subtle tone of voice, he can convey so much emotion and invoke it in others. i must confess i did notice something about him that i hadn't before. When he is being charming or solicitous in that duplicitous way as only 2 can, he gets an innocent look that reminds me of Uncle Floyd's puppet side-kick Oogie. i know that sounds surreal, but then everything about The Prisoner is---which is what makes it so good.

AMC airs The Prisoner 6 part mini-series beginning Sunday November 15th 2009 through Tuesday November 17th 2009 with a re-airing on Sunday November 22nd 2009. Please check your local listings.

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