Tuesday, August 28, 2007


FLATLINERS (1990, USA, Joel Schumacher, Peter Filardi screenplay)
Philosophy failed. Religion failed. Now it's time for medical science to try.

Rita Kempley, Washington Post: “A provocative attempt to resuscitate the nation's spiritual dynamism, an almost childlike look at sinning, a jazzy Sunday school lesson.” In which hotshot med students rarely have to go to class or do rounds (hospitals look like this in Chicago?), leaving plenty of time to experiment with killing each other so they can be brought back from death – not just to practice their resuscitation skills, but to find out if there’s anything on the other side. Sight-seers in that undiscover’d country from whose bourn no traveller returns – except them, of course, being gods.

Very Eighties film hasn’t aged well – which is all to the good if you have a taste for Schumacher camp, in quirky tension with a completely sincere interest in all the right themes. Hokey melodrama and hysterical (not funny) dialogue serve up the expected Life After Death and “Is There A God?” musings, and more substantial stuff as well: it’s not only what they find on the other side but what they bring back to this one, and what they have to do about it. Schumaker’s preoccupations with guilt and judgment are deepened by Filardi’s concern for real world consequences of irresponsibility and even immorality, the power of confession, reconciliation, restitution – the simple but essential idea that what we do matters.


Available at Videomatica

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