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  • Justin Louallen

Flatliners (1990) - Written Retro Review

Justin here. With the new film coming out, I decided to re-watch the original 1990 cult classic, Flatliners, directed by Joel Schumacher, and starring Keifer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt, and Kevin Bacon. The film is about a medical student named Nelson Wright (Keifer Sutherland) who convinces his other four friends to test an experiment on him by causing him to go into a near death experience and be revived within a matter of minutes in order to see what lies beyond death. After the experiment becomes a success, the other fellow students decide to try it out as well, with each of them going longer than the last person. What follows is a series of strange occurrences as each person who has survived death begins to notice haunting images of their past coming back to them. I'll be honest, I haven't fully watched this movie until recently. I remember pieces of it growing up, including the ending, but, I never fully watched it until now. I found this to be an incredibly underrated flick. Here are my pros. I highly enjoyed the story with the way it progresses as each character has to confront their past after Karma comes in different ways. The performances are all excellent. Keifer Sutherland is outstanding in this as Nelson. He's very kinetic with his obsession with death and the way that he plans to experience it. The rest of the cast are great too, including Bacon, Roberts, Platt (who's more of the comic relief and he cracked me up in parts), and Baldwin. It was different seeing Julia Roberts in a horror-type film and I thought she pulled it off quite well with one of her earliest performances. I also loved the themes surrounding each character, as this does have a religious message regarding death and I found it very fascinating and quite disturbing at times with the creepy stuff that they see. There are little subtle moments found throughout the film that I thought were interesting and it makes you interpret the themes of forgiveness, death, Karma, etc. I even loved the score by James Newton Howard. It had an eerie and sometimes beautiful sound playing that gets you into the feeling of disturbance and redemption. If I had one minor con, it would be that one of the characters didn't get to have an experience, which I felt stuck out like a sore thumb. Other than that, I absolutely loved this film and I can't believe I went years without seeing it. I'm going to give Flatliners a 9/10. What did you think of the original Flatliners? Comment below and I'll see you on my next review.

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