The Commuter is the third episode in Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams and is set in an era that feels like a mixture of ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, with decor jumping between all three.
Having worked in a dank railway ticket office or 20 years, Ed Jacobson (Timothy Spall) knows every stop on each train line like the back of his hand, until the mysterious Linda (Tuppence Middleton) turns up and asks for a ticket to Macon Heights, a place that doesn’t exist… or does it?
And if it does, what if it turns out to be some kind of utopia, where everyone can be happy forever?
Until now, he was fairly happy with his middling life, accepting that nothing major was going to happen for him in later times, especially as his marriage could do with a tune-up, as well as having the added challenge of a son with a psychotic disorder which causes him to be violent.
In the space of an hour, not every last bit of the scenario can be perfect, but a bit more on why their son was how he is would’ve helped, although we learned enough to keep us informed for the duration.
Again, this felt very ‘Tales of the Unexpected‘, and had other influences including Sapphire and Steel and something I won’t name as it’d kinda be a spoiler, but you’ll know it when you see it. In addition, there’s great support from Anne Reid and Hayley Squires from Ken Loach’s brilliant, I Daniel Blake.
At this point, I’ll also recommend the fantastic British film Away, which is one of this year’s best, and stars both Mr Spall and Ms Squires, although they sadly don’t share a scene in that one.
Like last week’s Impossible Planet, this is another episode where everything’s just so damn weird, and I love stuff like that. Overall, it has plenty of intrigue, and just edges over the first two episodes, but I’m still waiting for that perfect episode, but there are 10 in the series in total.
The Commuter is the third episode of Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams and airs tonight on Channel 4 at 9pm. Once broadcast, each episode will be on All4, but isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
Director: Tom Harper
Producer: Rupert Ryle-Hodges
Screenplay: Jack Thorne (based on the short story by Philip K Dick)
Music: Harry Gregson-Williams
Ed Jacobson: Timothy Spall
Linda: Tuppence Middleton
Mary Jacobson: Rebecca Manley
Bob Paine: Rudi Dharmalingam
Martine Jenkins: Anne Reid
Dr. Simpson: Ann Akin
Waitress: Hayley Squires
Sam Jacobson: Anthony Boyle
Tall man in light coat: Tom Brooke
Woman with pushchair: Nicole Agada
Commuter: Paulina Boneva
Commuter: Luke Courtney
Train Staff: Michael Haydon
Sam (6): Brodie Jouxson
Hallway / Classroom / Bus School Student: Alona Leoine
Commuter: Joshua Woolery-Allen
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.