January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

There’s not anyone alive who has not wondered what happens after death. We’ve all heard stories of people flying to a “white light”, seeing lost loved ones…only to be dragged back to the land of the living with only the memories that they had ever so briefly. Of course, death is usually thought to be definitive. That is, unless you’re a character in this movie! Flatliners explores the world of death through the living. What makes this such an interesting watch is mainly the eye of director Joel Schumaker. His visual style adds a new form of depth to the already eerie subject of death…and what lies beyond.

Flatliners follows five medical students who are looking for more than kicks on a Friday night. Nelson (Keifer Sutherland) is their informal leader, in the sense that the whole idea of what they are doing is his idea. Now what is it that they’re doing? Being medical students, they have a vast knowledge of medicines and resucation know how (which they end up using quite a bit). The plan is simple, kill yourself (in a mostly painless medical way), stay under for a minute or two and then be brought back to life, hopefully with the answers to what lies beyond death. Does it work? Yes and no. Nelson is the first to go, as it’s his idea, and comes back. Presumably, everything is fine, though he hides the fact that his biggest sin has followed him back from the dead. Joe (William Baldwin), the “pretty boy” medical student who has slept with countless women under false pretences, goes next for a longer amount of time. He also starts seeing things that he attributes to brain damage. It’s not until Labracio (Kevin Bacon) who plays an atheist, goes under and comes back that it all starts making sense.

All of these students have medically died. They are considered dead, and they are. While on the “other side”, they bring back elements from their past. Be it killing a boy by accident like Nelson, romancing women or making fun of a girl for no good reason…nevertheless, each of them must deal with it. It’s not until Labracio has the idea of making amends with what they brought back that may or may not have an effect on what’s going on. So this begs the question, should we play with “death”? Their answer (and mine)…No way.

Flatliners is a much better movie that this review probably made it out to be, it has a lot of tension and the soundtrack adds a lot to the movie as well. This was filmed when Keifer Sutherland and Julia Roberts were dating, so you have to wonder if that had any effect on the casting. Kevin Bacon and William Baldwin add to the picture and Oliver Platt’s constant worrying and whining, while annoying, make a valid point as well. As far as the DVD goes, it’s movie only folks, so I hope you like the movie, cause that’s all you get.

Video: How does it look?

Beautiful. Columbia/Tristar has provided us with yet another brilliant transfer and it shows on this movie. Flatliners is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic image that has very few errors. After all, nothing is perfect even if it looks it. Schumaker uses colors in this movie to convery certain meanings. All the scenes with death are dark blue and black, while Rachel’s (Julia Roberts) faces her problems with a red tint. Happy scenes, and there are a few, have a yellowish and orange tint to them. The image looks great and it’s a tribute to the movie.

Audio: How does it sound?

Just because a movie doesn’t have the advantage of “Dolby Digital 5.1” and is in Pro-Logic sound, doesn’t mean it will sound bad. Flatliners is presented in Dolby Digital Surround and it sounds very, very good. The sub is activated quite a few times and the front speakers radiate something almost constantly. There is a very good ambiance about the soundtrack and it serves, even more, to make the movie more interesting. A very good mix.

Supplements: What are the extras?

No extras to be found. There is a pull out booklet that’s three pages long if that counts for anything.

Disc Scores