What is reality? What is identity? How long can a soul survive when one’s perceptions and one’s self are subject to electronic editing at a moment’s whim? These and many other fascinating questions are raised and almost immediately dropped in TOTAL RECALL, director Len Wiseman’s retelling of the Philip K. Dick tale of an ordinary working Joe discovering his own secret life courtesy of a recreational brain reprogramming service. The story was previously brought to the screen by Paul Verhoeven, with Arnold Schwarzenegger starring, but does stripping the film of Verhoeven’s camp, satirical outlook and bringing in Colin Farrell as a more credible protagonist automatically mean the scenario regains the challenging, visionary paranoia of the Dick original?
Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons come together to explore thematic opportunities offered and missed in this latest remake, as well as dissecting the appeal of the film’s post-apocalyptic world and evaluating whether the core concept of the Rekall memory implant system makes any sense to begin with. Click on the player to hear the discussion.