source: imdb The Education of Fredrick Fitzell (aka Flashback)
While I will not walk you through the consequences of taking LSD or any other hallucinogenic, there are certain similarities between this type of drug and the consequences of reality/irreality portrayed in the film.
Much of the drama is anchored in the concept of flashbacks – a term employed by users of hallucinogenics to explain recurrences of very vivid memories most often directly hinging on a specific situation of drug use (like a burn-in on an old TFT monitor). And by way of these flashbacks a certainty-dissolving dissonans is replacing forward-movement as if “the past is still taking place” – messing with our male protagonist, who realises something from years past is forgotten and demanding attention, as he returns to his hometown to start a new job.
I have not watched a movie so steeped in the arcana of hallucinogenic-use SO well executed. I can think of other movies representing other drug-groups or dealing with consciousness dissolution, but not any movie showing the actual risks and reality disturbances of LSD without lifted fingers to warn people off, while not actually painting the attractions in gold veneer. For old fiends, this film probably reminds them, why they returned to hallucinogenics after their first use, while quitters are reminded, why they never returned, and both groups understand, why some never come down from their trip :
The world is in the eyes of the beholder, and if personal “beholding” is enhanced by hallucinogenics, some want to see more aspects of the world appearing out of increased data processing, while some just want a return, if possible, to normality residing in un-disrupted serotonin-production in the brain.
While never touching on (possible permanent) physical changes in the brain from drug use, wrapping the confusion of increased data procession during a trip and uncontrollable (possible) flashback replacing future life AROUND the protagonist as a reality coccoon, is simply brilliantly done. Never mind WHAT IS REALITY – no, the problem is losing the one you have, apparently for no reason. Apart from consequences of concrete use of hallucinogenics, this also works very well as a general metaphor for life in general: Suddenly your are hit with dire circumstance, dangled head down over an improbable blackness, and everything in your life screams THREAT – but you have no idea, what went wrong.
So, is it a good movie for people, who never dropped acid? I have no idea. MY world was replaced with the similar sensation of multiple words, which is on offer for the protagonist. Which is why I only give the film 9.2 – because he is offered a return to normality.
Even as I love and collect time travel movies, I am reluctant to genre determine this as such – because if regarded as such, it is not a film steeped in drug arcana, but simply the basic do-over-option of Time Travel seen a 1000 times, and if it is NOT intended as a TT movie, then the offer to return to normalcy jars with the very fine depiction of drug confusion. I can live with both options being possible and feel no need to decide. But as I can see from other reviewers not all feel like I do.