Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Coma (1978)

Director: Michael Crighton

Starring: Genevieve Bujold, Michael Douglas, Elizabeth Ashley, Rip Torn, Richard Widmark, Betty McGuire, Tom Selleck

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Imagine your life hangs by a thread. Imagine your body hangs by a wire. Imagine you're not imagining.

Plot: Dr Susan Wheeler is devastated when her best friend is pronounced brain dead after minor surgery at her hospital. Looking at the records, Susan finds that over the previous year a number of other fit young people have ended up the same way. She comes across two similarities to the cases - they all took place in the same operating theatre, and all the comatose bodies were moved to somewhere called the Jefferson Institute. She continues to investigate increasingly alone, starting to wonder if she can trust even her own boyfriend.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Yup.

Did you notice at the 1:26 mark of the trailer the voice over actor pronounces Boston as Bowston? Nice. How do these things get through like that?

Thanks to the Watergate scandal, conspiracy thrillers exploded onto the scene throughout the rest of the decade of the 1970s. This is one I remember being advertised when I was a kid all those years ago and the badass standout image was this one (or something similar) - the money shot.

That screams "I NEED TO SEE THIS!". It must not have screamed that loudly because it took me 33 years to watch it. So last night I finally got around to it and I was not only pleased that it didn't suck but it turns out to be a pretty good flick. Without spoiling the ending...I kind of wished it had gone in a different direction but it was still somewhat satisfactory. Bujold did a marvelous job carrying the picture and she really excelled in the films climax. So much so that you'd almost believe she was about to be operated on.

Douglas was good although I would have like more ambiguity in his character, Widmark was great as the head doctor administrator or whatever his title was. The look on his face in that last scene says it all. Tom Selleck makes a cameo as a soon to be corpse (OOOOOOOPS! SPOILERS!!!). It's not really a spoiler. you pick up on it pretty quick. And I can't believe I didn't recognize the lovely Lois Chiles (MOONRAKER's Dr. Goodhead) as Bujold's best friend. I adore her (and that sultry voice) in MOONRAKER (1979) She's very scrummy and needs to have my babies.

This isn't the edge of your seat kind of picture I would have preferred but it is a very good thriller and I'm glad I finally got around to it. Crap. I didn't mention Jerry Goldsmith's very good score. There's a moment where it gets all light, fluffy and gay but everything else is solid music for a thriller. I'm such a big fan of his and he did a lot of great thrillers in the 70s. I'm going to have to start making some time for them.

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