The Man in the High Castle Review

By Charlotte Gaines

Amazon proves it can compete with industry heavyweight Netflix in this gripping and slick political thriller.

The Man in the High Castle is set in a dystopian version of 1960s America, which has been partitioned into three areas after the defeat of the Allies in World War II. The 10 part series follows Juliana Crane (Alexa Davalos), who finds herself in possession of an illegal film and must leave her boyfriend Frank (Rupert Evans) to deal with the ruthless authorities in Japanese controlled San Francisco. On her journey to the neutral zone with this film, Juliana encounters Joe Blake (Luke Kleintank), a member of the resistance against the Greater Nazi State in New York, who is transporting mysterious goods of his own. Meanwhile, top Nazi and Japanese officials each work to eliminate resistance to their regimes and take total control of the divided states for themselves.

The task of showcasing not only the 1962 novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick, but one of the biggest ‘What-Ifs’ in history fell to executive producer Ridley Scott and showrunner Frank Spotnitz, who previously worked on The X-Files. Scott’s previous adaptation of a Philip K. Dick novel came in 1982 with cult classic Blade Runner, with the atmosphere of both forays immersing the viewer in the worlds of the author.

The Man in the High Castle is Amazon’s most-watched show since their original series development program began, overtaking favourites such as Transparent and Bosch. It has already been commissioned for another series, which is due to air later this year. If you love shows like Mad Men and House of Cards, then you’ll find much to love in this series too! The speculative history is presented in a striking yet surprising way, using grand cinematography and perfect pacing to create an engrossing parallel world which keeps the viewer intrigued throughout.

Despite its setting, the show also has something to say about the world we live in today, asking questions about prejudices and exploring the disturbing allure of fascism and totalitarianism. However, The Man in the High Castle seems over-reliant on exposition at times and the complexity of the plot can sometimes overshadow character development. Nevertheless, a solid script, great acting and the captivating premise of the show more than makes up for these pitfalls.

If you find yourself with a few hours to spare this semester, then I’d highly recommend you sit down to watch The Man in the High Castle. With only 10 episodes, it’s ideal for binge watching too!

Amazon currently offers students free Amazon Student membership for 6 months so it’s more than worth your while to sign up! You’ll get access to hundreds of other TV series and films on Prime Video, plus Prime Music, Prime Photos and unlimited One-Day Delivery on millions of items!

Image from amazon.com

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