In 1971, novelist Philip K. Dick's home safe was blown open: Only personal papers were stolen. In 1972, he entered rehab and tried to kill himself; two years later, Dick began having visions of God. The last years of the posthumously acclaimed sci-fi writer's life were bizarre, but by focusing on them almost to the exclusion of anything that came before, this documentary limits its audience to diehard fans. Dick (1928-1982) was 22 when he sold his first short story and published more than 40 novels (including Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, filmed as BLADE RUNNER). His fraternal twin sister died shortly after their birth; his parents divorced soon after. As a child, Dick was diagnosed as potentially schizophrenic, and he suffered various physical and mental ailments throughout his life. He married five times and had three children; financial success eluded him and he turned to drugs (which figured prominently in his later life and work) so he could turn out more text. Dick's early years clearly affect his later ones, characterized by paranoia, grandiosity and drug use, but if you're not already familiar with the writer's history, you're not going to learn much about it here. Overall, this film is amateurish, poorly organized and padded with tedious footage: a computer fan site, a librarian walking through the Philip K. Dick collection at the University of California at Fullerton, a devotee standing before various Dick-related sites. Fellow novelists Robert Anton Wilson and Ray Nelson, Rolling Stone journalist Paul Williams, close friend Miriam Lloyd and Gnosis publisher Terry Kinney all testify (some more convincingly than others) to Dick's genius and charisma, but there's no footage of the man himself. To make up for that obvious absence, the filmmakers created an animated version of the writer to accompany audio clips of Dick speaking. It's a well-intentioned but unsatisfying invention, which pretty much sums up the whole enterprise.
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- Released: 2001
- Rating: NR
- Review: In 1971, novelist Philip K. Dick's home safe was blown open: Only personal papers were stolen. In 1972, he entered rehab and tried to kill himself; two years later, Dick began having visions of God. The last years of the posthumously acclaimed sci-fi write… (more)