Sunday, January 30, 2011

Flatliners

1990

Directed by:  Joel Schumacher
Written by: Peter Filardi
Starring by: Keifer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, Julia Roberts, Oliver Platt and William Baldwin




From IMDB:
"Medical students bring themselves near death; their experiment begins to go awry."

This movie came about at a time when the log line was king.  Everything was about high concept.  "The bus will explode if it goes under 50 miles an hour."  That's all you needed to get asses in the seat.  I remember the stories around the bidding war for "Falling Down" - that was a strong idea.
Now the studios are looking for sequels and super heroes.  Surprising that the indie scene is now where we can find those high concepts.  I still love 'em.  I love a strong, clear idea.  "A down and out club fighter gets a shot at the world championship."

So to be clear, I don't really think Flatliners is a horror movie per se but it's a psych thriller - close enough. 
It was meant to be scary.  It tried to be scary.  It wasn't scary but it was still a fine film. 
The ensemble cast are all still drawing down huge salaries, even two decades later - except poor William Baldwin who has been relocated to the B/C movie world.  Still and I think it's pretty safe to say that he's living better than most of the people reading this blog - all four of you.
I suspect the script was better than the movie.  Smart dialogue - but over acted almost every step of the way.  I don't blame the talent.  I blame Joel.  He's big in life and wants his acting delivered big.

So one at a time the characters go into the dark zone and bring something back with them on their return.  Oliver Platt - the best actor of the bunch, never does go step over to the other side.  Not sure what he was doing there, other than comic relief, but I'm glad he was there.  I could watch that guy read the dictionary.

Julia's dad tells her it's okay - not her fault.
Kevin says he's sorry to someone he's wronged.
William - well that's never clear.  He has to deal with all the gals he's wronged.  He loses his true sweetie so I guess that's the price you pay.  If a woman (or a man) falls for the line of a Jack The Lad (or a Jill) then I have little sympathy for them.  If you get picked up in a bar or some other 1st time meeting place - the words uttered are only a ritualistic preamble to the inevitable dance - a necessary, not-so-secret exchange.  There was no youporn.com in 1990 so the video collection was personal.  Hardly seems worthy of afterlife retribution but who am I to judge.  Beaning some kid out of a tree with a rock - causing him to fall to his bloody death - now that's bad.
So it all works out in the end - and with zero body count - another reason we can't call this a horror move - but as I said - it's fine movie.

I'm going to give this one 3 Bloody Eyes out of five.

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