Flatliners, based on story by Peter Filardi
Ellen Page is an outstanding, phenomenal, extremely talented actress, only Juno puts these and other qualities in favorable light, while the rather strange, intriguing by poorly developed material for this newest version of Flatliners does not favor the gifted artist or any of her remarkable partners on screen.
Ellen Page is Courtney, one of five medical students at the core of this motion picture, who challenges Jamie, in the first scenes of the film, to meet with her later in the evening, for what he thinks is a date, an opportunity for sex.
Jamie is a rather horny – or it is extremely – young man, who is flirting with various colleagues, students who are older, younger and whose past has a dark side, as we would learn at a certain stage, the lack of self-regulation and control in sexual matters has made him commit a deplorable act.
When the two students meet just before midnight, it is in the basement of the medical school, where installations, modern equipment, operating tables, scanners and more are in waiting for a possible catastrophe that would require underground medical intervention of the highest standard and complexity.
Jamie thinks the beds would be used for intercourse – and probably the audience is meant to be amused by all these introductory shenanigans – and when he sees that the third medical student, Sophia, is present, he takes his intimate fantasies even further:
This will be a threesome, ménage a trois! Wonderful!
Only it is not about that.
Courtney is interested in what happens when people reach the threshold between life and death – references are made about history, what medical records say about this aspect which interests probably all human beings, with the exception of evangelicals, fundamentalists and others who would see this exploration as sinful and anathema.
Therefore, Courtney would put herself in this state, in the splendid facilities offered by the hospital and school, in the basement, where they have an interval of time, before guards would arrive.
The other colleagues would intervene after an established interval of about one minute – which would vary, for the dramatic tension of the script surely requires tension to reach a climax and audiences to believe that one or more of the heroes would die…which might happen.
Ray and Tessa are also involved in the project, although not all the protagonists would reach the state between death and life, some would have the chance to benefit to a certain extent from this magic trip, while others would suffer terrible consequences, wherein the scenario appears to become less likeable and believable.
Courtney is the first to return from No Man’s Land, the other side, or the land just before the vacuum, whatever we want to call it, that is if we believe this would happen and it is not just hearsay, a state in which people’s imagination is more active and therefore they see the light and the other known visions.
This young student seems to have gained special powers, an increased capacity to process, a higher intelligence because of her being in a trance and in clinical death, which make her able to find rare diagnosis, understand what happens to a patient even in very difficult and exotic cases.
Sophia sees what happens, the extraordinary abilities gained after this special trip to another world and wants to “die and come back” as soon as possible- indeed, early on, Courtney suggests that they could become the first experts on the near death state and in terms of job opportunities, that would open all the gates.
Alas, it is not all Wine and Roses, for there are traumas because of the temporary exit from this world – the alternative line of thought being that these people had serious issues in their past and this is why they engaged with such a dangerous, edgy project.
Indeed, Courtney is definitely doing this for more than she has initially admitted, for she feels responsible for the death of her sister and she wants to meet with her ghost, soul or whatever, on the other side, between sides – here it is difficult to try to figure out what happens- maybe because the plot is actually confused, wants to create the impression of complex, otherworldly events and thoughts that are beyond mere human comprehension…
Jamie has had a girlfriend – well, he has had so many, womanizer that he is – and this one became pregnant and he initially offered her help – he comes from an affluent family, whereas the girl was working in a menial job.
Nevertheless, when it came to the moment where he had to drive, take her to the clinic, where he was supposed to pay for her abortion, the evil young man did not do it, left the girl to fend for herself and she now comes to haunt him in the Flatliners ’experiences in the basement and even more terrifying, once these are finished, into the “real” world.
Marlo has also made a mistake, this one with tragic consequences, for she gave some medication to a man who had arrived at the hospital bitten by jelly fish, only the drugs had a reaction with the pills he was already on – and which the woman should have checked for – and the result is that the patient died…
Perhaps some of them escape the curse of the near death experience – which has some other advantages- the sexual prowess, emotions and intensity that Sophia experiences after Flat lining are formidable and…maybe worth the risk?