Seconds - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Seconds Reviews

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½ January 25, 2016
Confused satire meets Twilight Zone plot - result is a curio of days gone by, when this was apparently quite shocking. Classic noir cinematography though.
December 7, 2015
It's starting very promising with a great build up, Rock Hudson really don't do for me, even though he carries the personality through in a natural way. I just can't stop thinking about his alienated persona which strikes me.
½ November 19, 2015
The impressive, trippy camerawork and a solid lead performance make Seconds a gripping suspenseful look at the disenchantment of suburban life.
October 19, 2015
Science fiction regularly attempts to comment on social institutions that oppress the average civilian through slightly-heightened narrative constructs that exemplify this oppression in a way that both assuages the fears of the audience and challenges them to look for symptoms that could lead to this kind of phenomena; Seconds takes this idea a step further, imbuing this social commentary with a focus on the nature of human identity, crushing existentialism, and the constant need for renewed validation through rebirth.

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.
September 6, 2015
rock hudson's best film..
½ August 5, 2015
Gave this a spin via Criterion Blu-ray and it's got a creepy, claustrophobic vibe to it that really gets under your skin. The basic tale is about a man who decides to take advantage of a service that allows him to start a new life, with a new face, but soon grows bored in this new life and starts to learn the dark secrets of how he was able to start over so easily.

Good stuff! Give it a rental.
½ July 5, 2015
A unique story of a man who gets a fresh start at life but can't getaway from his past life and revisits his past wife which makes him doubt himself and his past life.
June 19, 2015
Seconds is a film about a banker who goes through a procedure to erase his current existence and start life over as a younger man. The interesting aspect of this film is in the organization that performs the procedure and how it goes about its daily operations. There's a lot of mystery involved and I like how they slowly reveal the secrets as the film goes on. However the development of the protagonist's story I found to be a bit under-written. In fact I kept feeling like I missed something because they don't properly establish what is wrong with his existing life or why he's so quick to leave it. It came across as though he was just going to meet with the company in order to see what it was all about, but within a couple of scenes he fully signs on to end his life. Because of this rushed beginning I didn't buy in emotionally in the later scenes when he craves to go back to his former life. I also didn't understand why it was so traumatic to him when he met other people who had gone through the procedure. It seems Seconds was trying to point to something deeper in the human psyche and I just failed to comprehend it. For me this felt like an overlong episode of the Twilight Zone. The camera effects were remarkable, particularly some of the tracking shots that followed characters, but I just wasn't invested in those characters. If you're interested in an odd psychological thriller that is very visually stimulating then Seconds is one you might enjoy, it just didn't work all that well for me.
June 4, 2015
Up until 1966, John Frankenheimer was known primarily for making political thrillers. Venturing out of the box he made Seconds, which was based on a novel by David Ely about a man who deciding that, after a long and unsatisfactory life, would pay a company a large sum of money to completely change his identity and become someone new. Seconds, at least in the first half of the film, is very much akin to an episode of The Twilight Zone, but comes off very much as a Roman Polanski or French New Wave project. It's basically science fiction in form, but functions more as a human drama. It's unique visual style for the time, courtesy of cinematographer James Wong Howe, gave a certain panache that many other films didn't have. The story, and its eventual outcome, were certainly not the typical Hollywood outcome at the time. The only Hollywood type aspect to the film was the presence of Rock Hudson in the lead role. It was ultimately an opportunity for the actor to perform in a more unusual role than he was accustomed to. Critics at the time of the film's release didn't care for the film, however. It wasn't well-received, but over the years, it became a cult classic. Elements vital to the film, including those previously mentioned, as well as Jerry Goldsmith's haunting score, and just the adaptation of the book itself by Lewis John Carlino, have been re-evaluated and appreciated by contemporary audiences and critics.
½ April 29, 2015
"Seconds" es una película enigmática e inquietante, acerca de un hombre maduro al cual se le ofrece la oportunidad de volver a rehacer su vida por completo con cambio de rostro incluido. La sólida dirección de John Frankenheimer, el magnífico trabajo de cámara de John Wong Howe y la madura y detallada actuación de Rock Hudson ofrecen una combinación de sensualidad, paranoia y misterio inigualables.
March 28, 2015
A Twilight Zone episode with the atmospheric and Kafkaesque sensations. The Wine Ritual sequence is wonderful, and the film itself works in the context of its time. A pessimistic, disturbing film, especially for the 'paranoiac' crowds of the sixties. However it may sounds like a didactic, 'careful-what-you-wish-for' parable for contemporary audiences.
½ January 3, 2015
An ultra-bleak but brilliant paranoia tale several years ahead of its time, the film is perhaps most notable for James Wong Howe's sublime cinematography. The middle bit sags a little but the ending is one of the most chilling in cinema, where Hudson performs admirably. A really interesting Sci-Fi that is unjustly overshadowed by its distant cousin, 'The Manchurian Candidate', 'Seconds' is a class act well worth checking out.
September 20, 2014
Every shot of this film is incredible. From the Saul Bass created opening credit sequence, to the extreme close ups of John Randolph's sweat covered brow as he nervously paces through Grand Central Station. Well worth importing the Criterion Blu-ray if you haven't seen it.
August 15, 2014
A movie about desire, in the sense that Jacques Lacan would put it. A metaphor of the struggle between the drives toward Life and Death.
August 8, 2014
What if you could start a new life as a "reborn" by mean of a hidden Company that uses blackmail to get his clients and dispose (literally) of you if you fail in your new life as "reborn". How many times could you be reborn?
A tenebrous Sy Fy film, the opening with deformed faces is from anthology.
½ August 4, 2014
Deve ter sido por volta da sua metade que "Seconds" me deixou convencido de que estava a ver um sci-fi existencialista capaz de marcar a sua época e de estabelecer uma fórmula para ser aproveitada nas seguintes décadas (o que até aconteceu). Até aí todos os seus argumentos variavam entre o majestoso e o muito promissor: logo de início, os créditos do mestre Saul Bass efectuam a transição necessária para uma dimensão deformada e, durante a hora que se segue, estamos amarrados a uma história de um senhor de idade que, depois de ser desafiado por um amigo aparentemente morto, decide trocar o seu corpo por outro mais jovem. Mas nem tudo corre bem e é aí que se instala o desconforto. Posto isto, a variedade de recursos visuais que John Frankheimer explora para obter uma sensação de "prisão psicológica" é pouco menos que sinfónica e isso faz com que "Seconds", mesmo em momentos mais desinspirados, seja uma fabulosa experiência de suficiente valor psicadélico. Mas "Seconds", tal como o sucedâneo "The Matrix", falha na obtenção de um desfecho satisfatório para a grande questão dentro do canhão ("Queremos rejuvenescer, sim, mas estaremos dispostos a pagar o custo disso?"). É curioso que ambos os filmes recorram a excessivas cenas de orgia (ainda assim a de "Seconds" é muito melhor) quando se esgotam as respostas para uma equação difícil. Longe de ser um filme perfeito, "Seconds" merece mesmo assim ser visto nem que seja pelo avanço que representa na ficção-científica.
½ July 16, 2014
The premise is interesting, but the execution of it, not so much. I feel there's a better story in there, but the movie goes in a less interesting direction. Some interesting camera shots, though.
½ June 25, 2014
one of the best no $$$$ sci-fi tales right up with george lucas' 'thx1138'
½ June 13, 2014
This underrated John Frankenheimer thriller is remarkably creepy and features an assured performance from Rock Hudson as a man who discovers that adopting a brand new identity is not without its costs!
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