The cast is full of famous faces. Julia Roberts is strong in this movie and adds a lot of heart to it. Kevin Bacon is the driving force that keeps the story moving forward. I?ve always been a fan of his, and he might be the one character in this entire film that actually behaves in a totally logical way throughout. William Baldwin is so needless in the movie that they don?t even bother resolving his story, he was annoying anyways. And Oliver Platt isn?t even worth mentioning. Finally, Kiefer Sutherland in this film proves to me exactly why I?ve never liked him as an actor. His performance is so over-the-top, and unpleasant that it doesn?t even seem to be in the same reality with everyone else.
The other thing I can?t avoid talking about in Flatliners are the sets. From the opening scene you are overwhelmed by the grandiose location that is supposed to pass for a hospital or medical school. More than half the movie looks like it takes place in a cathedral. The dramatic murals, huge windows, and massive columns lead to some fascinating shots, but it?s farcically extreme. Even the exteriors have elements that push the boundaries of logic (for example, giant faces in graffiti on the sides of buildings). It?s choices like this, and some of the plot elements that get over-dramatized, which make Flatliners a bit lacking in some areas despite the fact that the story itself is fascinating.
we all wonder what life is like after we die, is there a light at the end of the tunnel or something else entirely?
Kevin Bacon, Julia Roberts, Billy Baldwin, Oliver Platt, and Keifer Sutherland are medical students experimenting with stopping each others' hearts and bringing them back
it seems like its in the name of mankind, science or discovery but strange things start happening to each of them opening their eyes much more
the line between life and death is there for a reason so obviously some things should not be attempted
coming back from the dead is one thing but having your ghosts coming back is another
now they have to figure out how to stop these occurences before their lives are destroyed
even if you don't believe in the afterlife it's still pretty cool to ponder what's actually in the great beyond
there's our territory of living, then there's stepping onto God's
do we dare take that extra step into the unknown?
a neat sci-fi, psychological thriller that asks really good questions along with terrifying answers
I also had issues with the science...
Overall: 90/100 A-
Review: As I'm sure anyone could guess just by looking at the cast list, Julia Roberts was the weakest part of this film - acting and casting-wise. Not only is it tough to see her playing a medical student for the obvious reasons, she also only delivers a decent performance. Kiefer Sutherland and Kevin Bacon, on the other hand, really showcase their talents and give very compelling performances. I'd even say this is probably one of Bacon's best roles. Oliver Platt proved himself to be a good side-character actor, as per usual, and William Baldwin was decent to mediocre (yet still better than Roberts).
The premise was very interesting here and it was one of the earliest films to show Generation X's ambition and desire to "upstage those [freaking] Baby Boomers!" It was also very true to the nihilism that embodied Generation X: These group of students were willing to die - and essentially "kill" each other - to reach their goals. Generation X grew up in a tough time, when the crime rate was high and they were often left to fend for themselves (known as the "latchkey children"). There had been a bit of a depression, a raise in oil prices and a constant flow of divorce. All of these negative things contributed to the nihilistic attitudes that are very symbolic of Generation X.
The film had a lot of religious undertones but is still interesting enough for atheist viewers to enjoy. In fact, Kevin Bacon's character is an atheist, and like everyone else's character in the film, he has his own reasons for wanting to partake in this "experiment" - adding some depth and perspective to the film.
I think the answers that they came up with, primarily of reliving the memories and imagery that had "impacted" the characters the most, was actually pretty compelling and entertaining. It was interesting how they portrayed death as "lulling" and "inviting" one in. (Could be a scary thought in itself.) The premise of redemption was classic-religious storytelling but done in a tasteful way, nonetheless.
Also, the fact that none of the people who "died and came back" suffered any kind of brain problems as a result, was very unbelievable. They only only slightly alluded to the phenomenon of the potential to come back with "benefits" (which judging by the trailer, the sequel does plan to get more into).
*End of Spoiler Alert!*
The suspense was gripping throughout most of the film, from the "experiment" procedures to the after-math following each one. The imagery of the hospital in the beginning looked more like an old church dungeon than an actual hospital - providing some interesting imagery, but taking away from the scenery at the same time. Throughout the film, there was a lot of subtle and not-so-subtle visual imagery of "faces watching", (as part of the religious symbolism) that looked pretty cool if you caught it.
Overall this film was suspenseful, presented some interesting thoughts and ideas, and provided some commendable performances. Definitely a good watch for a "scary movie" or "darker subject" kind of night.