Medical students begin to explore the realm of near death experiences, hoping for insights. Each has their heart stopped and is revived. They begin having flashes of walking nightmares from their childhood, reflecting sins they committed or had committed against them. The experiences continue to intensify, and they begin to be physically beaten by their visions as they try and go deeper into the death experience to find a cure. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Joel Schumacher was intrigued by the spiritual and horrific aspects of "Flatliners", and enthusiastic about the possibilities of creating a visually exciting film. Schumacher said: "Flatliners (1990) is a story about atonement and forgiveness involving these students who, in a sense, violate the gods and pay a price. I think we would all like to know what's in store for us after we die. There have been thousands of reports from all over the world from those who have encountered 'near death', and most of them have reported pleasant experiences. Our movie, however, is saying that you're not to tamper with death. If there is anything we're supposed to learn about it, it will be revealed when we die." See more »
While a defibrillator is of no use if a patient has truly flatlined, a patient in a "fine v-fib" rhythm can appear to have flatlined but still be revived with the paddles. Therefore, when in doubt, the Advanced Cardiac Life Support guidelines call for administering the shock, though it's not the treatment of choice. See more »
I've been intending to write a review of this film for some time, but only
now have I actually managed to get my thoughts down for the perusal of
I never had the pleasure of seeing this film on the `big screen' which is
shame, as it is often visually stunning, but I have revisited it on video
numerous times over the years, enjoying it immensely every time. It
definitely is on my personal list of favorite movies, and for more than
starring Kiefer Sutherland and Kevin Bacon, two of my `actors to
Perhaps I appreciate this film so much because it appeals to my slightly
off-kilter taste in entertainment. I like my movies a bit left of
unpredictable and fresh. And whether or not you `believe' the story line
the film, you have to admit, it is different!
Everyone has different tastes and opinions, but my impression of some of
negative reviews of this movie is that the viewers never really saw past
surface level of this film. They got caught up in technicalities, `Why
would there be green lighting in a subway?' or `Why would medical students
pull such a stupid stunt?' and failed to see the artistry and
depth of the piece.
Yes, there are some medical and technical aspects that do not make logical
sense, but if you are willing to suspend disbelief just a tad, this can be
very engaging film.
First, a note about the artistic quality of the movie. Some have
about the murky lighting, and the illogical nature of the sets - but for
the use of innovating lighting techniques, the plastic and sheet draped
sets, the unusual settings in old buildings and dank, dripping tunnels,
use of statuary, rain and billowing curtains - all add a poetic flavor to
this film, a haunting beauty that suits the dark nature of the questions
being asked about life, death and forgiveness.
I will focus on just two examples; in an alley scene, a change in lighting
allows for certain elements of the set to come dramatically into focus,
to fade away once lighting returns to normal. It is an innovative means
conveying a shift in the `reality' of the moment, and works beautifully.
are also allowed to see the interior of the character's apartments -
contrast the warm wood, bright colors, golden lighting and cluttered
of Labraccio's rooms with the stark, white void of Nelson's. Both are
reflective of the characters themselves. Nelson's lack of `objects'
our lack of knowledge about his past. and his carefully constructed mask
that keeps his companions at a distance. His past, we come to learn, is
of chaos and conflict. He has determined to leave that behind in favor of
an uncluttered emptiness. unfortunately, the emptiness is also reflective
his relationships with others, a realization he comes to along his
journey of self-discovery in this film.
Flatliners is not your typical horror film. Nor is a typical drama or
suspense movie.it is rather more of an amalgamation of all, having the
elements of all genres intertwined in a complex, suspenseful plot.
This is an ensemble piece, and the cast does an excellent job of breathing
life into their individual characters. Your immediate impression is that
the characters are each representative of a well-established `stereotype':
The female ice queen, the slightly neurotic 'physician', the playboy and
socially conscious `nice guy' etc. However, as the film progresses and
characters are further fleshed out, they take on multiple dimensions and
Most interesting of all is Sutherland's character of Nelson. Nelson is
a character that is easy to like - indeed he is a bit of a b**tard, a
manipulator who definitely places self-interest above all else. Yet,
Sutherland plays him with a hint of insecurity that lends him a certain
appeal. As events unfold, you come to realize that much of Nelson's
unpleasant personality is a smokescreen, a protective mask behind which
hides a very uncertain and vulnerable young man burdened by a terrible
By revealing bits and pieces of Nelson's complex personality throughout
film, the writers, directors and cast gradually lead you towards a greater
understanding of and sympathy for him. The character who started out as a
`jerk' becomes important and valued in his own right - as you learn to
`forgive' his previous behavior in light of new information. Your journey
of discovery with Nelson reflects the characters own journeys towards
self-understanding, as they too come to realize that everyone has value,
`everything we do matters.'
Which leads to my final comment. Although many of the posters here have
picked up upon the theme of defying death.. few seem to have touched upon
what I see as the main premise of the movie - the importance of
and the need to be cognizant of all you do, because it does
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