Drama / Horror / Sci-Fi
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I never had any desire to see the movie Flatliners. Iím not a huge fan of Kiefer Sutherland or Kevin Bacon and since both portray characters central to the film, I had decided to pass on seeing it. However, you never know what might happen when a friend chooses the films you are going to watch and so, strangely enough, I found myself seated in front of the television with a bowl of popcorn and a copy of Flatliners in my DVD player.
The movie opens in a medical school / teaching hospital attended by Nelson (Kiefer Sutherland), David Labraccio (Kevin Bacon), Rachel Mannus (Julia Roberts), Joe Hurley (William Baldwin) and Randy Steckle (Oliver Platt). The students are hiding a secret - an experiment that goes beyond anything they have ever learned in medical school. Itís an experiment that would certainly get them expelled if they were discovered. They want to know what happens after you die and in order to achieve this goal, have decided that the experiment subject must flatline (be clinically dead) for at least one minute and be brought back to life to share their death experience.
Nelson has dreamed up this plan and therefore goes first. Thanks to the experimentís success, each member of the team (with the exception of Randy) wants a try, each vying to stay under longer, pushing the limits of the experiment to learn more about life after death. Unfortunately, there is a side effect to this experiment that no one counted on, a side effect that threatens each and every one of the participants and could mean certain death for at least one of them.
I was completely prepared to hate this film thanks to Kiefer Sutherland and Kevin Bacon and what I originally perceived as a weak storyline. But as the movie pressed forward, I found myself enjoying the unconventional plot and the strong performances of Julia Roberts andÖyes, I must say itÖKevin Bacon. I enjoyed the plot twist, the side effects of flatlining and the message that the film sends the audience.
The cinematography of the film, the darkness of the sets and the somber music all helped to bring home the darkness of the subject at hand as each character struggles with their inner demons and secrets from their pasts that rise to the forefront after participating in the experiment.
Shocked as I am to say this, Iím actually sorry that I didnít watch Flatliners a long time ago. There are just enough elements of science fiction and horror with an intelligent plot twist to make Flatliners quite an enjoyable experience.