The Prisoner Nick Hurran

The Prisoner Nick Hurran
The Prisoner, based on the classic 1967 Patrick McGoohan series of the same name, will inevitably be judged in comparison to the original. Sadly, the 2009 mini-series can't even begin to withstand that sort of scrutiny. Admittedly, I'm a fan of the original, but I watched AMC's new version with an open mind and found that even my modest expectations were dissatisfied. Jim Caviezel steps into the shoes of Six, a man whose name has been replaced by a number after waking up in a suspiciously idyllic town known simply as the Village. Suffering from a loss of memory and surrounded by mountains and desert, there is seemingly no escape for Six. The Village is run by Two, played by Sir Ian McKellan (there is no One, according to the Village's residents). Throughout the six episodes of the series, Six pieces together his back-story, in which he resigned from a computer software company (not a secret agency, as in the original). In its most interesting deviation from the 1967 Prisoner, Two doesn't acknowledge the existence of the outside world, claiming that the Village is the sum total of reality and that Six has always been there. It's an interesting mind fuck for a show based on a show that was all about mind fucks. It would have made a good single episode, but by having Two deny that they want something out of Six robs the show of any conflict or tension and leads to a ridiculous ending. By the time the series concludes, the story becomes so convoluted, so distant in tone from the original that one wonders why they made this story under the banner of The Prisoner at all when it could just as easily been its own disparate show. Despite the sloppiness of the script, the biggest problem is Caviezel. Where McGoohan was a defiant, charismatic hero that grounded the surrealism of the original show in the believability of his performance, Caviezel hits Keanu Reeves-esque notes of awfulness and his scenes with the always great Ian McKellan are almost embarrassing by contrast. It's okay that the producers wanted a different take on the character, but do it with someone else. I can only surmise that his casting was due to his previous role as Jesus, which automatically lends Caviezel's Six a messianic quality based purely on cultural association. Special features include commentaries, deleted scenes, an interview with Sir Ian and a making-of doc in which the producers and writers explain how they adapted The Prisoner, but never why. (Warner)