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Overall Rating

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 Chris Parry

"Promising start loses heart, flatlines, turns to vegetable."
3 stars

What do you think happens when you die? And why hasnít anyone tried to prove it yet? There are various theories about what happens to a person upon death Ė reincarnation, the white light, heaven and hell - and in this Joel Schumacher film, five medical students decide that the only way to find out which is true is to kill themselves, let their bodies sit for a while, then be resuscitated with the answers.

One at a time our faithful med students (Kevin Bacon, Keifer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, William Baldwin and Oliver Platt) are cooled, put under sedation until their hearts stop beating, then brought back from the brink before their brains get damaged from oxygen depravation. That would be stupid enough, but itís not long before theyíre competing with each other to see who can stay dead longest Ė 1.5 minutes, 2 minutes, 4 minutes and so on.

While our heroes are engaging in their medical pissing contest, it soon becomes apparent that theyíre bringing back with them more than just their observations, they bring back past sins as well. And thatís when the movie goes from compelling to confusing to tiring.

Julia Roberts, in all her young pout-lipped glory, is a young medico obsessed with death after her father shot himself in the face. Bacon used to call a black girl names at school. Baldwin screws women and secretly shoots them on videotape as heís doing so. And SutherlandÖ well, Keifer has more bones in his closet than Dahmer.

If you compare this film to Schumacherís earlier film Lost Boys, and then to his later disaster Batman and Robin, itís easy to track where his career went wrong. Any hard-hitting reality Flatliners has is lost in a thick coat of pseudo-style and over-production. Every scene is dark, full of blowing curtains and gothic feel. In Lost Boys that was an asset. In Flatliners it went further than it needed to. In Batman and Robin, things went so gothic and surreal it looked like a gay Fantasia.

Ultimately, Flatliners is a great premise taken to a ridiculous extent. The deeper things get, the further away the audience is likely to feel, and thatís never good. And nor is Kevin Baconís hair.

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originally posted: 10/29/02 10:30:38
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell interesting idea becomes moraility tale 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
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
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  10-Aug-1990 (R)


  02-Feb-1991 (MA)

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