6 Philip K Dick Movies That Any Blade Runner Should See
A list of 6 Philip K. Dick movies that any blade runner should see is important for any would-be blade runner; it's also important if you love sci-fi movies, since many of the best movies to come out in the last 30 years have been based on works by Philip K. Dick. So strap into your empathy machine, consult your I Ching, and cancel your appointment with Dr. Futurity because here are Philip K. Dick movies that any blade runner should see.
This is the movie that started it all, in case you couldn't tell from the title of the article. Based on Dick's novel with the funnier but less cool title of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?," "Blade Runner" is a future-noir masterpiece, taking many of the hallmarks of classic detective movies like "The Maltese Falcon" and transporting them to a dark future dystopian Los Angeles with flying cars, more-human-than-human replicants and building-sized holographic billboards.
One of the reasons Philip K. Dick is such a popular writer is his stories have such great sc-ifi "hooks" and "Total Recall," based on the short story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale," has a great one. In the not-too-distant future, a company known as Rekall as an inexpensive alternative to a globe-trotting vacation: memory implantation. Instead of actually going on a vacation, you go into the Rekall clinic and come out with memories as if you had. Something goes terribly wrong with the procedure when Doug Quaid ends up tangled in the world of interplanetary espionage after a Rekall memory implantation. Dick probably never imagined the kind of over-the-top action and violence that director Paul Verhoeven specializes in, but this is a great Philip K. Dick movie all the same.
The premise of this one is just as good as "Recall's": In the future, three telepathic savants are used by the government to predict murders. These murders are then prevented by law enforcement officers in a division known as "Precrime." But when the telepaths predict that one of the top Precrime officers, John Anderton (Tom Cruise), will commit murder, he has to go on the run from his own people. The movie is as exciting and thought-provoking as great science fiction can be.
A common theme in Philip K. Dick's work is the theme of memory. In "Paycheck," this theme is explored via a story about a man who agrees to give up three years of his life to a corporation under the agreement that his memory of those three years will be completely erased after the project is completed. Director John Woo turns the story of this man's search for the truth after being forced on the run by insidious forces into a Hitchcockian thriller, which also hits that sci-fi sweet spot between "exciting" and "thought-provoking."
"A Scanner Darkly"
Phillip K. Dick didn't just write exciting action stories, though. "A Scanner Darkly" is an exploration of southern California drug culture, told through the eyes of Robert Arctor, an undercover drug investigator whose assignment is to infiltrate the social circles of users of the popular and deadly drug Substance D. The movie, directed by Richard Linklater and featuring Robert Downey Jr., Keanu Reeves and Woody Harrelson, nails the tone and substance of the novel. It's also a rotoscoped feast for the eyes, especially Arctor's "scramble suit," which allows him to work as a drug operative without blowing his cover.
As a Philip K. Dick fan, it might be useful to watch a movie based on one of his stories that features the balls-out craziness of Nicolas Cage. "Next" fits the bill. Based on "The Golden Man," it features Cage as gold-tinged man who can predict future events. He uses these abilities as a magician, but he has to put them to more exciting uses when he goes on the run with Jessica Biel. It might not be as crazy as "Vampire's Kiss" or "Bad Lieutenant," but it'll do in a pinch.