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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One Response to “Review / ‘Flatliners’ (M) *”

  1. Mark Nickols
    October 9, 2017 at 2:37 am #

    Gee. It would be nice if the reviewer actually understood what the movie (or, for that matter, what the original movie) was actually about.

    Reincarnation! Not so much! This movie (or, for that matter, the original) had nothing remotely to do with reincarnation (or, to stretch a point) with re-animation. Just completely wrong! Reincarnation is about the transfer of the soul to a new body/existence following death. You come back as someone else, or as a cockroach. This movie, and the protagonists’ experiments in the movie, are not remotely about that.

    And the reviewer does not even ‘get’ the message of the movie – trite as it may be!

    The protagonists in the movie were not investigating reincarnation or even re-animation; rather they were hoping to map brain function during near death experiences, and get themselves some benefit thereby (PHD? Published in Medical Journals?). They also wanted to record their experiences ‘on the other side’.

    The experiment participants were ultimately being haunted and pursued by their own guilt. Whether they had ‘brought something back’ from ‘the other side’ by their near death experiences is left (rightly) an unanswered question, but heavily implied to be in the affirmative. The ‘message’ is that to avoid destruction the protagonists had to confront and admit to their responsibility for whatever sins they had committed, and they had also to forgive themselves, otherwise they were toast!

    Whether or not this is handled well by the movie is another question, but something perhaps worthy of review. Sadly, the current review does not address the actual contents of the movie, and misses the point entirely.

    Also, the reviewer gets the role of Kiefer Sutherland in the recent movie wrong as well. He was not engaged in ‘reviewing professional standards’ of ‘new medicos’. The Kiefer Sutherland character was just an educator of medical students – his role was just as a teacher in a hospital setting:- what did these symptoms indicate? What should be the diagnosis? What should be the indicated treatment? And so on.
    The Flatliners remake is not a perfect movie by any means. There are quite a few things wrong with it. But it should be expected of a reviewer to have actually understood the plot. At least get the facts right before you criticize the execution!

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