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March 1993


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"Russell A. Potter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 10 Mar 1993 19:14:49 -0500
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[log in to unmask] writes:
>please send opinion about Total Recall. Any comments -positives and negatives
>about that film will be welcome.
I've taught _Total Recall_ in a course on Gothic and Cyberpunk -- in
which context I think it worked well. Purists may complain that it
is unfaithful to the original short story, and it _does_ have its
moments of truly mindless violence (Arnie using dead bodies as
shields against machine-gun fire as he ascends an escalator, for
example).  I also am very critical of the casting of an African-
American actor as the cabbie who turns out to be a traitor -- it's
a but of semi-conscious racism unworthy of the balance of the film.
All this said, as a story which tries to take seriously the idea of
a virtual experience, and the difficulty (impossibility?) of dis-
tinguishing between very good "virtual" reality and "reality" reality,
it is a great film, far more intriguing than efforts such as _Lawnmower
Man_.  We saw the film as we read Gibson's _Neuromancer_, and the
interplay between the two was excellent, and led to good seminar
discussion [if you're interested, I could zap you the syllabus,
which includes critical essays, fiction, and films].
--Russell A. Potter
--English Department
--Colby College