Sunday, August 8, 2010
Scientists kill themselves for a few minutes to experience death and then are pumped back to life in Flatliners, a brave and interesting movie about a subject people have always wondered about: what lies beyond death? Well, Flatliners doesn't offer a precise answer (that is, a theory), but it does show what happens when you come back to life: the past comes back with you. I sort of liked this idea, but it definitely seemed like a cooler result could have been developed by the screenwriter Peter Filardi. The movie, directed by Joel Schumacher, features a solid cast: Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, and William Baldwin. But the movie's from 1990, so we get these good actors before they became major stars, which was cool. Ultimately, I think Flatliners is about the curiosity of young scientists and how far they'll go to find answers to their deepest questions. I've never heard of anyone trying the experiment of death, but it wouldn't surprise me if someone thought about trying it after seeing the movie. The film acknowledges that life exists after death, but for the most part it remains fairly ambivalent about it all. Visually the movie succeeds as a sort of sci-fi noir, with lots of murky colors mixed with the dark shadows. Overall it's a gloomy looking movie, but still smart and effective.