Film Review: "Flatliners" (1990)

Posted by prla1983 on March 24, 2005 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

After seeing The Making Of Phone Booth a few weeks ago I took a renewed interested in its director Joel Schumacher. Coupled with an ever-increasing interest in Kiefer Sutherland's career, this led to me to get hold of 1990's Flatliners.

Sutherland plays Nelson, a brilliant med school student who dreams of figuring out the mystery of life... and death. Fascinated by near-death experiences, his aim is to flat line, stay that way for a while and then be revived so he can tell what it feels like to be dead. For that he seeks the help of some of his colleagues whom together engage in a series of breathtaking experiments. I prefer not to disclose anything plotwise beyond the aforementioned facts because I found it quite suspenseful to be kept in the dark about the consequences of these experiments.

Despite not being a masterpiece by any means, Joel Schumacher's Flatliners delivers an eerie and captivating atmosphere which reminded me both of Adrian Lyne's Jacob's Ladder and Dark City. It also suceeds in the sense that it actually has a message to pass on to the viewer and it ultimately achieves that.

It's enjoyable to see a young Julia Roberts (who actually got engaged to Sutherland during the making of this film only to leave him not much later for his friend Jason Patric), William Baldwin, Oliver Platt and most importantly for my particular money, an arresting Kevin Bacon. In fact it puzzles me how Bacon hasn't got much more recognition than he enjoyed so far. And this film suits him perfectly, much in the same sense that Stir of Echoes did. In fact, he's so good that he can play nearly any kind of part and come shining out of it. If you hadn't noticed how much of a Kevin Bacon groupie I am, there you have it.

All in all, Flatliners is an intelligent thriller and seems to be in the vein of other Schumacher's movies dealing with the supernatural and other assorted metaphysical experiences (which aren't surprising if you know a bit about Schumacher's own life). The acting is good, the plot is good even if it becomes a bit repetitive but never boring. Other than that, throughly enjoyable and a good film for a week night.