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Overall Rating
3.37

Awesome: 3.39%
Worth A Look52.54%
Average: 28.81%
Pretty Bad: 8.47%
Total Crap: 6.78%

5 reviews, 29 user ratings


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Flatliners (1990)
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by Slyder

"Today’s a good day to die… maybe"
4 stars

Joel Schumacher maybe or should I say IS a complete hack and at times I think he should stick to costume designing, but still you can’t help but look into his resume for certain films that stood out because of mere interest and promise. Phone Booth, Lost Boys, The Client and this little film are some examples. Flatliners is interesting due to the highly original subject of “what happens to us when we die?” but ultimately slips as all Schumacher films do due to his cinematic excesses… but it was worth the ride.

Five medical students Nelson Wright (Kiefer Sutherland), Rachel Manus (Julia Roberts), David Labraccio (Kevin Bacon), Joe Hurley (William Baldwin) and Randy Steckle (Oliver Platt) decide to take on a risky experiment, which is to kill each other via sedation and body cooling for a number of minutes and then be brought back in order to find out for themselves the answer of what happens when one dies. All minus Randy join in on the experiment with each going lengthier in death time (2 minutes up to 5 minutes), but once they come back, they begin to realize that they brought something back with them. To quote Nelson: Somehow we've brought our sins back physically. And they're pissed.

The good things first: the cast immerse themselves into the movie churning out remarkable performances, with Sutherland once again proving why he’s the coolest motherfucker there is; his one-liners are memorable and his acting chops are just as great and is his performance that makes this film chug along through its rough patches. Julia Roberts and Kevin Bacon also mold in fine-tuned performance, and all three are backed solidly by Baldwin and Platt. Peter Firaldi’s screenplay avoids the usual religious clichés that would’ve hampered a film like this and sets on a course of it’s own with very interesting results up to a point. Schumacher as always brings about his neo-Gothic sense of vision transforming Chicago into a pale and gloomy graveyard. Schumacher’s vision is helped greatly by Jan De Bont’s cinematography shooting with rough grain film stock, depressed colors and flashing neon lights giving the film a dark, mysterious and noirish look, with some really jumpy sound FX which are applied at the right moments. These pros are more than enough to warrant a view on this film

Unfortunately, by the time the film reaches half-way and it’s all about righting the wrongs, it gets too predictable and tumbles the film a notch lower than what it was actually aiming at. Despite the cast’s acting heroics, the supporting roles (especially Platt’s) become too flat that in the end they’re given nothing else to do but run around with the others and say some lines. Furthermore the film gets hampered when it reaches its final act. The visuals are great to a point but then along with the latter part of the script, they start to become too repetitive and contrived for their own good. Had Schumacher restrained himself from indulging too much he might’ve gotten himself a decent little supernatural thriller, but it manages to come up as a noble failure. Still, I give him credit for his take on a very interesting subject and making it worthwhile, even if his sense of vision and the screenplay fuck up at the end.

In the end, it’s no masterpiece but it’s certainly far from being a bad film. Flatliners is quite a memorable film even if it becomes a bit too stupid by the film’s end; worth viewing at least once. 3.5-5

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=888&reviewer=235
originally posted: 09/11/04 07:53:03
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell interesting idea becomes moraility tale 2 stars
1/27/13 PAUL SHORTT HECTIC, OFFBEAT FANTASY 2 stars
8/27/12 roscoe very good, but takes awhile to get going and way too morbid 4 stars
1/05/08 Pamela White movie makes you think what is really on the other side 4 stars
4/21/07 action movie fan very good story-intense and engrossing afterlife thriller 4 stars
2/04/07 chow this film was crap...its so boring and it leads to no-where...utter crap 1 stars
5/18/06 chienne Quite right. VERY interesting concept, but it the film was left lacking. But I loved it. 4 stars
1/18/06 JM Synth Not terrible, but it wastes several good ideas, and has surprising little to think about 2 stars
9/18/05 E Wood interesting idea of life after death 4 stars
8/24/05 ES Seen it a couple times, not overly scary nor intriguing, not even eye candy really 2 stars
8/05/05 ^podo scary and interesting 4 stars
9/30/04 Archanist_101 Kiefer Sutherland is just superb!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
9/22/04 Al Guy Interesting thriller. Great star value. 3 stars
7/08/04 Denise Duspiva Great cast good plot 4 stars
4/07/04 Sig wow 5 stars
3/28/03 Goofy Maxwell Insultingly stupid, yet wildly entertaining. 3 stars
1/13/03 Jack Sommersby Dazzling cinematography but dramatically obvious. 2 stars
11/01/02 Monster W. Kung I'd rather die. 1 stars
10/16/02 Charles Tatum One of the few Roberts films I have ever liked 4 stars
8/05/02 KMG I THINK EVERYONE IN THIS PICTURE DATED JULIA 3 stars
1/14/02 Magnum Craphole Interesting premise is flushed down a toilet of banality and superficiality. 1 stars
10/22/01 Cookie Cutter One of the dumbest movies I've ever seen. 1 stars
8/10/01 E-Funk Sometimes scary...sometimes stupid. It was OK. 3 stars
6/14/01 Law Firm of Dewey, Cheatam & Howe About as good as Shumacher will ever get; Baldwin & Jules OK for once 4 stars
3/14/01 Jake Entertaining and engrossing. 4 stars
12/20/99 Eric S. Joel Schumacher takes a great idea and turns into an average thriller 3 stars
10/18/99 Shelagh Interesting, disturbing yet silly! 4 stars
6/15/99 Dylan Worth seeing. 4 stars
9/17/98 cheryl_ann pretty freaky plot, but freaky in a good way. i liked it. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  10-Aug-1990 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  02-Feb-1991 (MA)




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