Overdrawn at the Memory Bank (1985)

Out of Print

review by Scott Hamilton and Chris Holland
See also:

Doctor Who - The Enemy Within

Logan's Run

Silent Running

Overdrawn at the Memory Bank

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Our rating: three LAVA® motion lamps.

For a movie made in cooperation between two television stations, Overdrawn at the Memory Bank is surprisingly good. While the film quality and sets put us in mind of an early 80's Doctor Who episode, an imaginative script and sincere performances from a number of actors put this movie head and shoulders over many larger-budget Hollywood productions.

Raul Julia plays Aram Fingal, a very intelligent computer programmer and a very bored man in the employ of Novicorp, a mega-corporation that exists somewhen in the future. When caught watching Casablanca at his desk, Fingal is required to undergo rehabilitation therapy called "doppling." Doppled patients find their minds transferred into the bodies of animals for a new outlook on life (and for a number of amusing nature documentary sequences narrated by Julia). However, Fingal's body is misplaced and he is transferred into a computer while the body is located.

With the help of Appolonia James, a medical technician played by Linda Griffiths, Fingal manages to reprogram himself into a simulation of Casablanca and eventually gains access to Novicorp's financial computers, bringing the company to its knees. But Fingal's real problem is getting back into his body before his memory patterns are erased.

The production team did a terrific job of recreating the set of Casablanca, down to the interior of Rick's Cafe. Even the character actors work well, and although the celebrity look-alikes aren't exactly Greenstreet and Lorre, they do a darn good job of faking it. Casting Julia in the double role of Fingal and Rick was a stroke of genius -- since Fingal created the fantasy setting, why not cast himself as the hero? Julia's Bogart imitation is even passable.

Although the production values are lower than one might hope and some of the dialogue and special effects come across as cheesy, it's obvious that Overdrawn at the Memory Bank was a labor of love. It deserves some respect for struggling and winning against the factors that have doomed other films to mediocrity.

Review date: 01/28/1997

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