It's 2014: Do you know where your freedom is? It's gone, at least in the post-9/11 new world order in this thrilling modern-day remake of Orwell's classic.
The United States has been renamed "God's United States," and nearly anything you say or do is monitored. Bots can kill you on site for not showing identification; practically all media sources have been banned; all nay-sayers, dissidents, intellectuals and Democrats have been either jailed, killed or driven underground; and the â€œWar on Terror” has reached dizzying new heights. Blair does not paint a pretty picture of the police state into which the country has morphed–the extreme end-result of the Homeland Security and Patriot Acts and a government administration gone awry (to put it mildly). Winston Smith, a Nationalist Party hack driven by pure ambition, is trying to produce a propaganda film disguised as an updated version of 1984. Too bad–the powers that be don't want that movie to be made, and they'll do anything to make sure it's not. After Smith takes a fateful and much-needed vacation to London to visit an old friend, he finds himself experiencing firsthand just how vicious the government, to which he was once so loyal, can actually be. Blair creates a terrifying depiction of a democratic country transformed into a terrorized totalitarianism. While clearly a satire, the use of slightly altered current administration and media names–e.g., the â€œBlush” Administration; â€œFoxy News”; â€œJohn Bashcroft”–initially comes across as amateurish and reactionary rather than satirical. However, as the story progresses, this becomes less distracting and more disturbing. Blair infuses the novel with a progressive sensibility that, whether you agree with the politics or not, influences the plot line without dictating it–thus creating a more vivid, realistic picture, regardless of party lines.
An apt and enthralling remake that projects such alarming realism, it's difficult not to fear the onset of such a sinister dystopia.