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Monday, 2 October 2017

Poundbury, 'The Perfect Town'; Electric Dreams, The Commuter; An Unreal and Otherworldly Location?

"The Commuter" probes behind the "fake smile" of a suffering individual and the artificial facades of "a town that almost existed", or never existed, to where people with sad or chequered pasts feel the need to escape, where they can dream of another life - but end up thinking about what could have been; a place where 'Truth' and 'Grim Reality' eventually intrude on their dreams of happiness and Utopia, and ghostly inhabitants come to regret the loss of their alternative, addictive, semi-divine way of life.

"Ed encounters a mysterious woman who sets him on a journey to a town that doesn't exist. Ed returns to find his life has changed for the better, but this gift has come at the ultimate cost".
I've now watched this fascinating episode twice, discovering more clever details at the second viewing, and admiring the brilliant performances and the disturbing atmosphere created.


"Ed Jacobson (Timothy Spall) is a down-trodden train station attendant whose main goal is to simply get through life unscathed. But Ed's life seems to turn around when he meets Linda (Tuppence Middleton), a mysterious passenger at the station who requests a ticket to Macon Heights: a town that does not exist".

Tuppence Middleton The Commuter interview: "a sci-fi element but very rooted in everyday life"

Watch Channel 4 On Demand. Electric Dreams, The Commuter (Episode 3).

Discover the real ‘perfect town’ where Channel 4 filmed Electric Dreams: The Commuter, Radio Times

“It is an ideal town, built to spec and on a fixed set of plans rather than emerged over time, so it does have this sort of strange feel,” director Tom Harper said.

Apparently Poundbury’s unusual aesthetic aided in the episode’s sense of unreality, as noted by cast and crew who found no need to “dress” the set to make it seem otherwordly.

“We did nothing to it,” Harper said. “I think we did lots to other places but very little to Poundbury, because it’s been built very recently and there’s already a sort of very artificial feel.”

“It’s such an amazing place,” actor Tuppence Middleton, who plays Linda in the episode, adds (Radio Times).

Telegraph Review - "When curiosity got the better of Ed and he hopped aboard the train bound for Macon Heights, he found a faceless new town where all ills evaporated, including his".

Electric Dreams || The Commuter Review, YouTube - with shots of Poundbury - I thought it much, much better than this reviewer found it.
Some extracts from the dialogue:

"Maybe this is the world as it should be, maybe it's the world that you ideal town that stays unreal, that can exist untouched by reality".

Some spooky, almost sinister, stage-set houses..."I take it they're not real..."

"A life without truth..."

"If you think that this is happiness..."

"It's as close as some people can get..."

About Philip K. Dick

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