Famous for its gorgeously unnerving cinematography, Frankenheimer's film goes beyond stylistic perfection and commits to probing, immensely honest truths through disorienting content and a horrific premise. When faced with the idea of a second chance at life, man would absolutely jump at the opportunity to escape from their daily minutia in a desperate attempt to feel alive once again (as Hudson's character does), free from the self-imposed prison of detachment one constructs in a life that begins to feel routine out of a misguided sense of self-preservation. Frankenheimer makes it clear that this desperate reinvention would provide no clearer sense of a perfect identity, and rightfully so; the notion that constant renewal would in any way allow for a higher state of being is nonsense, as the high would begin to lose its edge quicker and quicker each time before ultimately trapping the participant in the same prison they were attempting to escape before.
It also raises questions about perception, both of ourselves and of others, utilizing mirrors, photographs, and memory to portray the frustratingly fluid nature of identity that always seems to be just out of reach. This acknowledgment plays into its critique of the American dream, our identity crises leading to the need for the material as a means of validation, driving the machine that profits off of human suffering. Ultimately, "the company" portrayed in Seconds needs to self-perpetuate endlessly, as all means of production do in the US; if you come between them and their bottom line, you end up eliminated. The cruel falsity of our individualistic freedom within such a system is on full display in the film's final moments, the psychological horror exiting the realm of the psyche and moving into that of the social sphere.
The endless amount of critical threads made available in Seconds is astonishing, its vibrancy and depth ignored upon release in an unforgivable instance of critical ignorance. This isn't just an extended episode of The Twilight Zone; without a doubt, there's nothing else quite like it.
Good stuff! Give it a rental.
A tenebrous Sy Fy film, the opening with deformed faces is from anthology.