The Man In The High Castle is based on the Hugo award-winning novel by Philip K. Dick and adapted Frank Spotnitz (X-Files). This gritty historical series shows what “could have been” if the Nazis had been victorious against the allies in The Second World War; with Japan and Germany ruling the United States instilling fear into its citizens through intimidation tactics through acts of sheer brutality with unspeakable acts of torture not even being off the table. The authorities have no limits when it comes to keeping their power. The show follows our main protagonist Julian (Alexa Davalos) as she aims to finish what her sister started. These film reels come into play. These films are dangerous because they show WWII as we know it. Juliana’s sister is killed because she knows too much and was in possession of a film. It shows us the Allies winning, how history is. She leaves San Francisco for Colorado in search of her sister’s murderer. In the meantime, new resistance recruit Joe (Luke Kleintank), is in The Big Apple ready and prepared for his first assignment.
Made by Amazon Studios, The Man In The High Castle is certainly a series to bingewatch. Amazon, like Netflix releases all their episodes at once. I don’t think I would have been able to function if this had been on cable television. To wait a week for one episode would have been too much for me to handle. The sheer suspense each episode entails is astounding. Many episodes left me shaking with my arm hairs standing on stilts afterwards. Online networks like Amazon and Netflix are able to do things that cable networks can’t. The main thing being that they can afford not to care about offending this person and that person due to having no weekly slot for episodes. The beauty of these shows being that they release all episodes at once. Amazon have pulled some absolute crackers in the past which include: Bosch which starred Sons Of Anarchy’s Titus Welliver and political satire series, Alpha House starring John Goodman (Argo).
This series is dark, gritty and full of remorseless acts of brutality from the police who were predominantly run by the Japanese with Inspector Kido (Joel de la Fuente)at the head. He’s a force to be reckoned with. He portrayed as pure evil by the marvellous acting talents of Joel de la Fuente (Hemlock Grove). He’s a nasty piece of work and a spawn of the devil in law enforcement. The law is what he makes it, not if it’s truthful or honest. Life is not fair in this series. Well it is if you’re German or Japanese. They can go around killing at will yet if you’re an American, you’re not legally allowed to carry or own a firearm. Any German or Japanese citizen can go around killing any American and nobody bats an eye. This show is grim. There is no other word for it. It’s as grim as it gets. There are many moments when the characters we have grown attached to, are thrust into scenarios of great peril. Brutal acts of murder and torture are considered tame, after all Valar Morghulis and they treat the American population as guilty by association like being related to someone who is considered “anti-establishment”.
History is relative. Throughout history there have been copious amounts of wars. And all these wars have been passed down as stories, written by those who win. So history itself could be interpreted as a lie? Whatever is in the history books is taken as fact because that’s all we’ll ever know. The only way we’d every know the whole truth is if we were there living it as history unfolds in front you. This is why I found this show so interesting. It showed the Second World War from another point of view. As kids, we are taught many subjects in school but the history that is taught is mostly in favor of our country. We are always taught the history that makes out respective country look good so in theory, history is bias even before we’ve even started.
Evil is all a matter of perception but if I am honest, he hasn’t got any redeeming qualities. He’s a vicious tyrant who upholds the law utterly without mercy. He’s a small vicious man without an unfathomable need for attention. He’s a small child given too much power in a society that’s thrives public fear and intimidation. This is about the common man, or woman who does what needs to be done for the good of all, without thinking of one’s self beforehand. The resistance is fighting for the common man against the Nazi-Japanese oppressors. Is this so different from our own society? Edward Snowden and Julian Assange rebelled against the authorities because they can’t be trusted. They released classified files online. In contrast, instead of classified files, we have these film reels that show what ‘could be’ if the resistance succeeds.
Performances from all the cast were excellent. This show has one of the best concepts of any show I have seen this year along with Mr Robot and Zoo. The fight scenes and cinematography were also a wonder to watch onscreen. These fight scenes exposed the mortality of the Nazi generals. The generals seemed to be immortalized and someone has a crack at them. After all, we must respect our own mortality. These generals are only men and no matter how much power you have, powerful men die just as easily as little men.
Man’s greed and power to control is also at the forefront of the this show as well as romance, politics and the fear of anti-Nazi propaganda (film reels) to be released to the public. The Nazis have lasted because people’s ideologies are all the same and those who stand up have been killed.
This series is a pure masterpiece. It’s dark, gritty and not for the faint-hearted. Predictably, the oppressed citizens are our heroes. But it also turns the oppressors into anti-heroes as well, like Joe Blake. All these characters are flawed and only by admitting what we are can we get what want. All these characters have had to face their inner demons. This makes this series even more scary. Bad things happening to good people. You are guilty by association and it shows us how easy people can change. Human nature enables us to do unspeakable things that defy all morals and ethics. These are things that can’t even be called pragmatic. It shows us, as a species how easily our walls of safety can be crushed by facing some hard truths.