This is the year, 2009, the film, Freejack, was a futurist extension into, from its origin of 1991. Significant, one would think, for a retrospective “reinterpretation” or, at least, an interesting revisit. Steven Pressfield has taken the Robert Scheckley novel brilliantly to the screen where director Geoff Murphy has worked magic to make it work. His obstacles, in devising both the film’s setting, satisfying the chemistry between so many diverse actors and exploring new frontiers of science and technology for such a short projection into the future, are overcome splendidly.
Casting is extraordinary as well. Mick Jagger as, Vacendak, the purveyor of “candidates” from the past for healthy bodies for the future (and the protracted needs of rich unhealthy clients) is inspired. Jagger fits his role like a glove. But then there’s the always remarkable Emilio Estevez, an actor, writer and director, this reviewer has always applauded. Resisting trading on the Sheen name, oblivious that almost all his leading ladies tower over him, all faith in his versatile abilities was justified when his writing, directing and acting careers hit their height at the Venice Film Festival when his film, Bobby, received a seven minute standing ovation. (Yes, it is that good.)
The beautiful Rene Russo plays opposite Estevez as Julie Redlund, a woman that has climbed to the top of a corporate run country, only to face losing everything in the face of choices unique to a situation hardly imaginable, well almost. Will she lose the love of her life twice?
Highly successful in supporting roles, villainous though they may be, both the accomplished Anthony Hopkins, as McCandless, and his untrustworthy assistant, Jonathan Banks, as, Michelette, fulfill their roles justifying every expectation. The irascible Amanda Plummer as a “nun with an attitude” is a pleasing twist.
In many ways Freejack takes up where the film, Rollerball (1975), left off, offering respite to a society being suffocated by increasing corporate greed and tyranny, with a hero figure larger than life (even at 5′ 4”.) Futurist cars, great chases (expected of a Grand Prix driver) and a storyline that blends it all together beautifully. And what an ending!
But, getting back to that retrospect thing, especially the way the world has invited in its New Year, this movie just might be a harbinger of things to come in many, many ways. Alarmingly.
A great movie for all audiences and the very best kind of science fiction.