Released: Digital Download January 22, Blu-ray & DVD February 5
Starring: Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev, James Norton, Kiersey Clemons.
Length: 105 minutes
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Five medical students hoping to gain insight into the mystery of what comes after death embark on a daring and dangerous experiment. By stopping their hearts for short periods of time, each triggers a near-death experience. As the investigation becomes more and more perilous, they are forced to confront the sins of their pasts, as well as contend with the supernatural consequences of trespassing to the other side.
Ellen Page leads the cast in thisremake of the 90s fan favourite FLATLINERS but sadly is only in the movie for about half of its runtime being killed off part way through by a ghost from her past. It’s a waste of an Oscar nominated actress but then the whole venture was fated to be a disaster from the outset. Unable to put together a cast worthy of the original - you can’t beat Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts and Kevin Bacon, but if you try to you need better than the likes of James Norton and Kiersey Clemons - who despite being reasonably likeable cannot compare.
This updated Flatliners is flat from the outset. Diego Luna has perhaps the most interesting character of all - a gifted medical student with previous real life experience - he comes out of this ill-conceived movie least scathed of all - his performance being fairly decent as the one medical student of the five sensible enough not to undergo the procedure of ‘flatlining’.
The procedure is hastily set up by Page’s character, so much in fact that she hasn’t even told her two friends what is happening, or why. They’re just taken to a room and asked to assist in her crazy experiment to kill herself - and they foolishly agree, despite initially being shocked. The other two characters join later, by accident. She’s put as much planning into this as they did into remaking this film.
Director Niels Arden Oplev brings nothing to the movie besides flat shocks, dull direction and a complete lack of imagination. The film drags on to its ultimately unsatisfying conclusion without asking, or answering any new questions and does nothing to update or re-imagine the original film. The film suggests that it will answer the ultimate question but it entirely fails to do this and cannot even come close to matching the original film in either style or depth.
The group fail to analyse any of the data collected, discuss pretty much anything about the experience - preferring instead to party and have sex with one another - or put to genuine use the temporary boost to intelligence that the procedure seems to have gifted them. This is a failing of the characters but also the film as a whole - it all seems completely pointless. Questions are left unanswered, interesting plot lines are left dangling and this film barely kept my attention for its overly long runtime.
I had hoped for an exciting, exhilarating update of a beloved classic, but this is a mere ghost of the original movie - no more than a lazy re-tread of the same material offering audiences nothing new.