Review / ‘Flatliners’ (M) *

IN 1990, Joel Schumacher’s contemporary sci-fi fantasy “Flatliners” told how five newly graduated medicos tinkered with reincarnation of newly dead people by timely medical intervention, using themselves as guinea-pigs!

That idea is no more or less fantastic than any other sci-fi movies set on this or any other planet. Nor is it any more scientifically sound

27 years later. I found little to praise in this remake by Danish filmmaker Niels Arden Oplev (“The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”). The screenplay by Peter Filardi and Ben Ripley adds passages in which the experimenters embellish their post-mortem memories of things they’d prefer not to have remembered while alive. But the credibility ratings of its theses, Kerry Packer notwithstanding, is rock-bottom low.

The only alumnus from the 1990 film, Kiefer Sutherland, this time plays a middle-aged medico reviewing professional standards of five new medicos before turning them loose unsupervised on an unsuspecting patient body.

In the basement next door to the hospital mortuary is a fully-equipped surgical theatre complete with high-tech imaging stuff. That’s a funny-peculiar location for such stuff. But that’s where the kids are going to play. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing!

The film staggers along with a full component of same-old same-old plot to a predictable conclusion, but not before principal character Courtney (Ellen Page) dies with no-one on hand to reincarnate her.

Surprise, surprise! “Flatliners” is a message movie! Its prelude is a spectacular car crash nine years earlier. A child dies. Her older sister Courtney was answering her mobile while driving. The film’s underlying presumption becomes apparent. Does the price of Courtney’s discretion reflect value for your ticket? You decide.

At Dendy, Capitol and Hoyts

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