12 June 2013

12 June - "Philosophy failed. Religion failed. Now it's up to the physical sciences."

Flatliners (1990)

dir. Joel Schumacher (Batman Forever, 1995)

Kiefer Sutherland (Twelve, 2010)
William Baldwin (The Squid and the Whale, 2005)
Oliver Platt (X-Men: First Class, 2011)
Julia Roberts (Mary Reilly, 1996)
Kevin Bacon (X-Men: First Class, 2011)
Beth Grant (Rango, 2011)
Benjamin Mouton (Basic Instinct, 1992)
Kimberly Scott (Batman Forever, 1995)
Julie Warner (Tommy Boy, 1995)
Patricia Belcher ((500) Days of Summer, 2009)
Jim Ortlieb (Home Alone, 1990)
Angela Paton (Joe Dirt, 2001)
Ingrid Oliu (Stand and Deliver, 1988)

I'm not sure what genre to categorize this as. It may just be a tame horror movie, but you may just want to generically slot it under suspense or drama. When in doubt, do as my friends at Vision Video do, and put on the drama shelf. The premise is that a group of medical students--and I would love to know where they filmed the creepy, converted-seminary hospital scenes--kill and then resuscitate each other into order to explore the phenomenon of near-death experience. They discover that experimenting with brain-death gives them quite a scare, and each character (except for Oliver Platt) is forced to face the wrongs they have committed in the past.

As I said, this movie has remarkably lovely (in a spooky way) sets which feel as if they are heavy with symbolism but probably aren't (just like a Wes Anderson movie). The character development is subtle but effective, you feel as if you know enough about each person by knowing very little. It's the kind of conservative scriptwriting that I find most appealing in movies. I think this is a greatly underrated movie, especially for it's now-they're-super-famous cast and delicate subject matter. The tone remains clinical even as the symptoms begin to defy a clinical explanation.

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