Review: Flatliners (2017)


Flatliners (2017)

Directed by: Niels Arden Oplev | 110 minutes | drama, science fiction | Actors: Elliot Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev, James Norton, Kiersey Clemons, Kiefer Sutherland, Madison Brydges, Jacob Soley, Anna Arden, Miguel Anthony, Jenny Raven, Beau Mirchoff, Charlotte McKinney, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Steve Beyers

What do you do when you run out of inspiration? A question that concerns countless people when a poem has to be written, suddenly a speech has to come out of the top hat or when someone asks if you know a nice joke. Usually, you’ll dig deep into your memory hoping to come across a fun one liner or joke that you’ve been successfully spooning up for years. Hollywood has gotten to this point for decades. The cinemas are overflowing with reused stories, recycled scripts and reboots of once successful films. Enter ‘Flatliners’.

The ‘Flatliners’ discussed here was released in 2017 and is a remake of the 1990 film of the same name. The original was canned by Joel ‘kitsch is not bad’ Schumacher who is mainly associated with the megaflop ‘Batman & Robin’. That’s not entirely fair, because the filmmaker has made some very interesting productions. ‘Flatliners’ is one of them. This film told about a number of students who generated near-death experiences together. For the kicks. That production featured Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland at the beginning of their careers. The eighties clothing and music give this film a nice kitschy atmosphere. Thanks to the acting, this movie is still very enjoyable. Something that cannot be said about the 2017 version…

A lot goes wrong in this retelling, directed by Niels Arden Oplev. It starts with the script and the casting. Here too, students want to generate near-death experiences together for the kick. A ridiculous, but nice premise. Anyway, it’s about the presentation and that’s where it goes wrong. This remake takes itself too seriously. The deadly serious Elliot Page flies at this sci-fi thriller like a heavy arthouse drama. The lack of humor sucks all the air out of this film.

Another problem is that all characters are interchangeable. They lack a personality of their own. This is partly due to the downright underperforming cast. It results in a chilly viewing experience. The fate of the characters leaves you cold and that is disastrous for the tension. In the 1990 original, the charismatic renditions were reason enough to get involved with the characters. The cool one-liners and the interesting premise were also cool. This modern version is really just boring. You look at dull characters, a strange montage and a broken script.

These ‘Flatliners’ are stillborn. There is nothing more to resuscitate here.

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