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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Flatliners (2017)


Starring: Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev, James Norton, Kiersey Clemons and Kiefer Sutherland
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Certificate: 15
Release Date: 05 February 2018

Four promising medical students are drawn into a series of illicit and highly dangerous experiments by another student who is compelled to discover what we see at the point of death. In the basement of the hospital are state-of-the-art facilities, unused and in place in the event of a natural disaster. Thus undisturbed, she instructs them to stop her heart for two minutes before bringing her back. Undergoing an amazing near-death experience, her academic works also improves markedly. All but one of the group of students wants to undergo the procedure. But there are consequences. Their individual guilty pasts suddenly catch up with them and haunt their daily lives...

This is a remake of the original 1990 film of the same title, which starred Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts and Kevin Bacon. It was an inventive subject matter refreshingly portrayed. I’ve never liked the idea of remaking a perfectly fine film. What is the point, except to appeal to short-sighted viewers not prepared to explore old films? In this instant I will relent, because the new version does set out to be different with its events, if not the main concept. The story is by Peter Filardi, and screenplay by Ben Ripley (believe it or not!). The idea here is that technological advances have progressed to the point that what happens is much closer to scientific fact, as opposed to the original’s fantasy element.

The characters of Courtney (Ellen Page), Marlo (Nina Dobrev), Ray (Diego Luna), Jamie (James Norton), and Sophia (Kiersey Clemons) are all very sound, with perhaps Ellen Page (best known for Juno) shining brightest with her spot on emotional reactions to the highs and various lows of the plot. The thing I like most about this new take on Flatliners is the tightness of the script. Events move on at a rate of knots, and every scene progresses the story. In other words, there is no padding. If you look at the deleted and extended scenes they slow progression and are mainly very talky. These scenes were cut for good reason. Well done the director Niels Arden Oplev.

The film is produced by Michael Douglas, among others. It’s nice to see him take the time to enthuse about the project on the special features. Another nice touch is that Kiefer Sutherland, who was one of the students in the 1990 version, plays two or three scenes here as a hospital professor.

Extras include the aforementioned Deleted and Extended Scenes, and the featurettes: Reviving a Cult Classic, Making the Rounds, Just What the Director Ordered, and The Ultimate Question.


Ty Power

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