Customer Reviews: Oktober
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars7
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on June 7, 2013
This is a made-for-TV movie from 1998 and to some extent it shows with its film quality and 1:33 ratio. It's not high-end or lavished with exciting locales (although the Swiss Alps are rather spectacular), but it is a straight-forward movie that delivers as promised. Like Hitchcock's North By Northwest, you have a main character Jim Harper (played by every-man actor Stephen Tompkinson), who gets unwittingly and unwillingly caught up in a pharmaceutical company's illegal drug research. There's nothing particularly special about Harper. He's the kind of person who would so strike you as you would easily overlook him in a crowd. I'm not even sure I'd call him naïve, but rather more like just bland. Then if you add in some paranormal stuff, surrealistic nightmares, and vague conversations with dead people, you'd have the Night Gallery/Twilight Zone component. Or maybe even Tales of the Unexpected even.

I believe Tompkinson does a great job of making you care about Jim Harper. You see Jim slowly metamorphose into a seasoned individual. I think it's great skill for an actor to evolve subtleties in a character without changing the overall essence of the character. Some of the other actors do seem like cardboard characters, but somehow I don't particularly mind that so much in this film as I think the film has a campy sort of feel to it anyway. It all actually seems to make the film work and gives it this weird kind of dark vibe all way round.

As to how the movie compares to the book, well, the author also wrote the screenplay and directed the movie. I read the book after having watched the film. There were some parts pulled straight from the book and also some major changes to the film adaptation. I'm mostly in agreement with the changes as I don't see how filming the book in its entirety would have benefited the film, but that's just me. I've also re-watched the film and reread the book. I find that both book and film taken together give a complete picture of Jim Harper and the Oktober Project. I also believe that both stand well as separate mediums.

I don't think it's five stars, but I like the film way more than four stars so I erred on the plus side. Be forewarned though, FYI there are no subtitles for those who have difficulty navigating British accents and may need to rely upon them. They don't exist here.
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on January 29, 2012
Fans of the novel won't be disappointed. Stephen Tompkinson absolutely acts his socks off and makes for a compelling sympathetic lead. The changes made to the novel's story are quite broad and some work better than others, but in essence it's the same story and many of the key scenes remain, including the supernatural elements that made the novel so memorable. The more complicated strands and the globe-trotting nature of the book have been dropped for a more streamlined story with a neater resolution that works very well onscreen. The direction is mostly slick; the scenes shot in a snowy Switzerland in particular give the serial a filmic quality, and the actions scenes carry a lot of pace and punch for a nineties television drama. However, like many programmes from the same era, the quality of the picture and lack of widescreen does date it, but it's still a great British drama and an sf highlight of the 90s.
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on September 6, 2008
This is a sci-fi movie which I usually do not like. An interesting premise, a new unapproved drug tested on an innocent bystander by a huge drug corporation. I liked it but thought that the editing was not very smooth, obviously a foreign production. I had to watch it about three times before I caught all the jumps, which had at first viewing seemed to not make sense. I bought it to see Stephen Tompkinson's performance which was good in some places and seemed melodramatic in other places. Of course, the story of traveling back and forth between the living and the dead made it unbelievable. The director was also the writer and this was his first effort at directing which probably accounts for some of this.
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on October 31, 2007
This movie is enjoyable with just enough surprise to keep you watching. Stephen Tompkinson is excellent. He has to be naive enough to make the plot work and yet be able to outsmart the enemy. Good performance.
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on January 28, 2006
Unfortunately this is a 2 hour condensed version of the 4 hours series - he whole series could have been put on a CD.

Originally aired on some PBS stations around the country. A psychological/mystical thriller. The lead character gains a link with comatose test subjects after intentionally being given the not yet realsed drug.
The drug was intended to bring patients out of a coma. Failing to do that other therapeuic uses are planned.
The drug has unexpected effects, of which the drug company was warned and ignored after considered to far-fetched.

Just like other PBS/BBC series have become films - expect it to happen with this.
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on May 1, 2013
I am a huge fan of Stephen Tompkinson's work, however, this movie was a disappointment. Way too far-fetched, and not in a good way, in the sci-fi department for my taste.
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on May 9, 2013
It's ok , did not care for it.. Tephen tompkinson is too good of an Actor for movies like that
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