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Overall Rating
3.35

Awesome: 11.76%
Worth A Look: 11.76%
Average76.47%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

2 reviews, 5 user ratings


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Subject Two
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by EricDSnider

"First, do no harm. Second, if you do harm, resurrect him afterward."
3 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2006 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL: I can almost recommend "Subject Two" as an introspective take on medical ethics and the doctor-patient relationship, set against the background of a modern-day Frankenstein story. It's almost a good movie in that context.

In fact, though it moves perhaps too slowly and quietly, the film, shot on digital video and boasting a very bright, sharp color palette, has a certain magnetism to it. With only two central characters and a remote setting atop a snowy mountain in Colorado, it reads like a small chamber piece -- except that in this case, one of the characters is constantly killing and resurrecting the other.

Adam Schmidt (Christian Oliver) is a medical student who is invited by a mysterious doctor to participate in a study. The doctor, Franklin Vick (Dean Stapleton), knows that Adam is frustrated by the medical world's views on ethics -- he'd like a little more leeway -- and that this makes him a perfect candidate for his, Dr. Vick's, experiments, which certainly push the limits of ethical behavior.

To wit: Vick is looking for immortality, for the ultimate victory over death. Having failed with his first test subject, he dubs Adam "Subject Two" and commences killing him and bringing him back to life, again and again. Each time brings about changes in Adam's mental and physical abilities (as well as side effects), and the doctor believes he is getting closer to creating an indestructible man.

A faint sadomasochistic streak runs through the men's relationship, with Vick exercising ultimate control over his patient and the patient seeming to enjoy the experiments, at one point ASKING to be killed. They work in utter isolation in a snowbound cabin, both of them medical scientists, yet never living as equals. That imbalanced relationship gives the film, written and directed by Philip Chidel, some of its latent creepiness.

It is not, ultimately, a horror film, though it has some horror elements. It's more a psychological science-based thriller, something akin to 2004's "Primer." The plot's surprises aren't the focus, though they do exist; it's the overall story and its implications that Chidel wants us to consider. I think he's onto something. This one isn't bad, but I bet his next film is better.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=13570&reviewer=247
originally posted: 02/22/06 09:12:31
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2006 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 San Francisco Independent Film Festival For more in the 2006 San Francisco Independent Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Fantasia Film Festival For more in the 2006 Fantasia Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

11/03/09 DON KAWASH NICE UPDATE OF FRANKENSTEIN. ATTRACTIVE LEAD ACTORS. 4 stars
10/29/06 Caig Smith Interesting concept that couls have explored more. A little to slow and emotionally unrewa 4 stars
9/05/06 Nevada Bob On that budget? A masterpiece! 5 stars
9/04/06 Indrid Cold Mildly interesting and original. The whole thing feels and looks cheap though. 3 stars
1/26/06 Don Meredoy Awesome! Beautiful and chilling. Moving! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  18-Jul-2006
  DVD: 18-Jul-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Philip Chidel

Written by
  Philip Chidel

Cast
  Christian Oliver
  Dean Stapleton
  Courtney Mace
  Jurgen Jones



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