Article 99 Reviews
[originally posted 18Jun2001]
Here's an interesting concept. Take a director whose career is rapidly fading, give him a star whose career is rapidly fading, and stock his film with rising stars. Think you can come up with a saleable product?
You can if you're Howard Deutch (Pretty in Pink) and Kiefer Sutherland (The Lost Boys). Article 99 was the last good film Sutherland made before the dry spell that ended with Dark City; Deutch is still looking for a comeback film. Sutherland is surrounded by then-rising stars who have since become household names, including Ray Liotta (fresh off the success of Goodfellas), Kathy Baker (a year before Picket Fences), Keith David (still best known for playing Childs in Carpenter's 1982 remake of The Thing), and Lynne Thigpen (who, come to think of it, still hasn't gotten the recognition she deserves). Put the lot of them in a VA hospital, as (all except David, who plays a sociopathic-but-likable Vietnam vet) they try to cut through all the red tape and just do their jobs, while the hospital's administrator (John Mahoney, now known as Frasier's dad) tries to hamstring them at every turn. It doesn't sound like a recipe for the kind of comedy Deutch is used to directing, but somehow it all works, with the doctors and the administration battling it out until things go just one step too far, as they usually do in movies. And it still could have fallen flat on its face if not for the very last scene, as the end credits begin rolling. It's a feel-good movie that doesn't allow you to feel good. Now THAT'S an accomplishment. *** 1/2
This movie clearly represents the obfuscation, misinformation, lies, denial of services, and the withholding of information that those in charge of the VA tell the practitioners along with other employees to do. Very few times in life are there men and women who see all of the information, see the connections, see the injustice, only to take a step forward to put those in charge on their butt. These rare and rather heroic people stand up against the corruption as those who get the job done. Should you doubt what I am saying visit any VA Medical Center or federal office building where claims are filed in order to speak first hand to those who are in the middle of fighting for necessary services. Furthermore maybe, just maybe you can elaborate on why this movie was released in the shortest time frame only to be rushed through the country as quick as possible. As we certainly do not want to show "Any" government entity in a bad light...
May God have mercy on the souls of those who delay, deny, and expect us to die as I along with many others shall have no mercy and give no quarter to such rats.
Odio la burocracia en todas sus ramas!!