November 17, 2009By Joe Diliberto Posted: Nov 17, 2009
Night two of the AMC miniseries adaptation of the cult series THE PRISONER found No. 6 getting a new job, but still trapped in the desert — and the series itself still lost in the wilderness.
But let me be positive for a moment. I have thoroughly enjoyed the photography and high production values. Last night's installments looked really spectacular, especially the first hour, which dealt with characters spying on each other. Filming scenes from a distance, through windows, from behind plants and grates or reflected in mirrors or car fenders really expressed a feeling of voyeurism, and adding creative shots through holes in walls and ceilings, or even peering upward out of the cup on a putting green honed the creepiness factor into outright paranoia, as if every character is spying on every other one.
But while it all looked fantastic, the actual storytelling has been crap. Director Nick Hurran seems less interested in telling a story than making sure there are lots of pretty pictures on the screen. For example, the entire sequence when 11-12 helps 6 go undercover in the tunnels was completely incoherent. What happened? Did anything actually happen, or was it a dream? Was 6 drugged? Instead of mysterious, it's all just confusing. Too much of the story still appears to be odd merely for the sake of being weird: Why does 313 appear seemingly at random nearly everywhere? One moment she's chiding 6 for skulking on the roof of her building, but the next moment she's with 6 at 147's place? Are the other denizens of the Village in the same boat as 6, or all planted there to work him? Why did 6 agree to work the surveillance unit with 909? That entire story felt tacked on; the idea of the mysterious Dreamers as a threat came out of the blue and was left undeveloped.
That's assuming that there is an overarching story. I have a sinking feeling that the Village is going to be explained as just another part of the evil corporation 6 quit, and the whole enterprise is going to be written off as the machinations of just another greedy multinational that went too far in the pursuit of profits.
Based on the first 4 parts, I do not hold out much hope THE PRISONER will be able to replicate the mind-bending denouement of the original series (although I have my ideas about how I would accomplish it), but I've come this far, so I might as well see it through tonight. So, for the last time I will say, "Be seeing you..."