Critical Care (1997)
Sidney Lumet filmed this hospital satire at a Canadian studio. Alcoholic Dr. Butz (Albert Brooks in old-age makeup) advises younger Dr. Werner Ernst (James Spader) to only treat patients with much insurance. "When the lawyers start crawling all over you," says Butz, "that's when you know you're a doctor." Ernst, a second-year resident working in the ICU with head nurse Stella (Helen Mirren), winds up in the middle of a dispute between two sisters (Kyra Sedgwick and Margo Martindale). One wants to pull the plug on their wealthy father; the other demands that he remain alive (at a cost of $112,800 a month). Soon events swivel from the money-mad medical mire to equally murky legalistics. Steven Schwartz's screenplay was adapted from the novel by Richard Dooling. Shown at the 1997 Chicago Film Festival. … More
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Critic Reviews for Critical Care
...it emerges as a magically entertaining blend of heart, soul, mind, wit, farce and, finally, an idyllic idealism.
Lumet moves with confidence between satire and intriguing, heightened-reality spirituality.
Audience Reviews for Critical Care
Not bad medical drama hampered by the fact that for a great deal of the film Spader's character behaves like an idiot. This isn't the actor's fault, he gives as good a performance as possible considering the actions forced on him by the script. He is certainly supported by a high quality cast in almost every role. Kyra Sedgwick is annoying and not terribly convincing but she is the lone sore spot. Helen Mirren is wonderful as an understanding and compassionate nurse and Albert Brooks a stitch as a loony doctor well past his sell by date. The script has many holes but it does make a strong plea for doctors seeing patients as people not just science projects and sources of income.More
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