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Steven Hilliard Stern
A young doctor at a hospital, Susan Wheeler (played by Geneviève Bujold), starts noticing a pattern of strange occurrences with patients. Healthy patients are suddenly developing complications and ending up in comas. She starts investigating and what she reveals is astonishing.Written by
The film was memorable for its striking image of a coma clinic where numerous men and women were suspended by wires attached to, and passing through, their wrists and ankles. Such images were used for the film's movie posters. See more »
When Dr. Bellows and Dr. Wheeler are on the beach, during the kissing scene, the sand on Michael Douglas' cheek disappears and reappears between shots. See more »
Anesthesia's the easiest job in the world until something goes wrong. It's 99% boredom and 1% scared-shitless panic.
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Based on Robin Cook's novel, the story goes that Dr. Susan Wheeler (Genevieve Bujold) a resident in the Boston Memorial Hospital suspects something is wrong when too many patients come out in a coma after minor surgery. When nobody takes her seriously she starts an investigation of her own and then realizes she is on dangerous ground for someone is trying to stop her even if she has to die.
Michael Crichton takes the most from Cook's book and assembles a most enjoyable thriller with tension all along, intrigue and an impacting ending too. Among the shocking and powerful sequences this movie offers there's the chasing of Wheeler by a hired killer that lasts in the hospital's morgue full with dead bodies hanging from the ceiling in transparent plastic bags in a sort of subrealistic scene; her visit to the mysterious Jefferson Institute where coma patients are held; the "accidental" death by electrocution of a cleaning employee of the hospital that knows to much; and the final discovery by Wheeler of how things are and who is behind them.
Genevieve Bujold gives a fine performance as the stubborn Wheeler and Michael Duoglas is alright too as her work partner and lover (not a very demanding role anyway). Rip Torn (the surgery chief) and Elizabeth Ashley as a sinister nurse credit the supporting cast. And there's finally Richard Widmark very convincing as the Medical Center's Director who shows sympathy for Wheeler although he believes she's just a trouble maker that could ruin the Hospital's reputation.
A great thriller that constantly improves as the film goes on. You can't miss it if you like real suspense in movies.
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