Seconds - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Seconds Reviews

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September 24, 2017
I liked how the film depicted the company as untrustworthy from the beginning. It also did a good job describing how Arthur met his downfall. The thought-provoking scenes when the movie discussed this were powerful. It also had a powerful ending. Also, a lot of the middle felt like a bizarre escapist fantasy. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I first watched it, but I was completely blown away by it.
August 13, 2017
Fifty year old Arthur Hamilton is bored of his dull, suburban lifestyle, and feels stuck. He can't connect with his wife, doesn't see his adult daughter, and is stuck in a monotonous job. When Arthur gets a call from a supposedly long dead friend, he can't believe what he hears. His friend explains there's a company specializing in second chances, giving someone an entirely new body, face, and voice of his choosing, letting them start life anew, all he has to do is sign some paperwork, and they'll take care of the rest. Arthur is skeptical at first, but soon caves in after an awkward night with his wife, and plunges himself into a living nightmare, that proves you can't escape your past, or who you are, no matter how hard you try.

Seconds is a disturbing, sad, yet beautifully shot look at the impossibility of second chances, and the danger of trusting big corporations to handle your life. Though a flop on release, it has since been praised for it's ahead of its time themes, a great performance by Rock Hudson, and fantastic cinematography.

Rock Hudson truly is great in this, playing a conflicted man perfectly, and really making you feel the horror, and pain of his situation. It's speculated that he played this part so well, because he was grappling with his own issues of identity, and hiding hiding himself from the world. Rock Hudson was a complete heartthrob in his time, but it was all a facade, he was actually a closeted homosexual during the 1950's, and 60's. This story about being someone else was clearly a very personal film for him.

However the biggest star of this film is the cinematography. Cinematographer James Wong Howe does a fantastic job using mounted cameras, and handheld, shaky shots to communicate an amazingly haunting atmosphere, in director John Frankenheimers wonderful film.

The script is based off a popular novel by the same name, and communicates its themes of existentialism, dystopian futures very well. Seconds was made during a time where plastic surgery was beginning to take off, and people wanted more than ever to be someone else, or to be like celebrities.

Frankenheimer wanted to make a film that showed the ugly truth. No amount of surgery, or changes in physical appearance will change who you are inside, the person will still carry the same emotional baggage, and inadequacies they desperately want to get away from. It's a lesson that I think is even more relevant now, and should be seen by young people especially. We live in an age that desperately promotes reinvention, and wanted to the center of attention. This film shatters that idea gloriously, and is easily a haunting, important classic, that will only get more relevant as time passes.
May 11, 2017
A sci-fi infused, high concept thriller about the burden of freedom and the danger in relinquishing it from a master of the thriller.

This a movie that, for having been made 51 years ago, feels strangely contemporary. It has been a clear influence on modern thrillers, particularly David Fincher's "The Game".

Also, is it possible to get tired of Rock Hudson's mind-blowing work? I don't think so.
May 7, 2017
A story about a man going through a mid-life crisis who thinks it's a great idea to hire a shady firm to kill his identity, literally, and create a new life for him, complete with plastic surgery turning him into Rock Hudson. He eventually finds out that things that sound too good to be true, are. A gripping tale that showcases the acting chops of Hudson, who rarely got a chance to show 'em off. Some technical mistakes, but interesting camera angles, and a disturbing tale a la Twilight Zone on steroids. Excellent movie that movie buffs should definitely see.
March 31, 2017
I give this a 98/A+.
March 24, 2017
Craaaaaaazy movie! The themes this movie touches on are still relevant to today. And the camera work will clench your butthole real tight.
February 22, 2017
It's like Eternal Sunshine meets Face of Another but it's treated like a horror film. Stunning. Vivid fever dream visuals and delicate handling of such complicated logic. And Rock Hudson with a spellbinding performance. This would not work without him. Perhaps the best thriller I've ever seen.
February 8, 2017
Intoxicating, powerful and gripping. I expected a bigger twist, but, all in all, it works right the way to the end, with an incredibly honest depiction of a man off the rails with booze at his party (takes me back) mostly due to Rock Hudson. Beautiful lighting, editing. Creepy sci-fi that puts human concerns as a priority in story telling.
November 6, 2016
John Frankenheimer's 1966 classic is about life and why it should be cherished.
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.
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