World on a Wire (5 stars)

World on a Wire

(15) 204min
(Second Sight)

What a beautiful world we live in. This is the restored, pristine digital print of little seen two-part 1973 German TV sci-fi drama directed by the great Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Even better it turns out it’s actually a science fiction masterwork, one that thematically and philosophically dwarfs The Matrix.

The plot involves the creation of Simulacron 1; a highly advanced project to create a virtual reality inhabited by computer generated people. The trouble is the last head of the project went bonkers and died mysteriously and his successor seems to be going the same way.

Clever, astute, dark, gripping and insanely ahead of its time, World on a Wire may look dated in terms of the fashion and lack of CGI effects, but it’s still a stunning exercise in cerebral futurism. This two disc set comes with fascinating special feature Fassbinder’s World on a Wire: Looking Ahead to Today, a documentary about the making and restoration of the film featuring a rare interview with Fassbinder’s (and later Scorsese’s) brilliant regular cinematographer Michael Ballhaus.