REVIEW: FLATLINERS (2017)

Starring

Ellen Page (The Umbrella Academy)
Diego Luna (Rogue One)
Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
James Norton (Rush)
Kiersey Clemons (Bad Neighbours 2)
Kiefer Sutherland (The Lost Boys)
Beau Mirchoff (I Am Number Four)
Steve Byers (Immortals)

Ellen Page, Martha Girvin, Beau Mirchoff, Nina Dobrev, Emily Piggford, and Jelena Savic in Flatliners (2017)A medical student, Courtney (Ellen Page), is obsessed with the idea of the afterlife, wanting to find out what happens after death. She invites fellow students Jamie (James Norton) and Sophia (Kiersey Clemons) to join her in an experiment, in an unused hospital room: using defibrillation to stop her heart for sixty seconds while recording her brain, and then reviving her. She assures them they would not be held responsible for any accidents. Sophia is against this, but Jamie does it anyway. After sixty seconds, they panic as they are unable to revive her, but eventually manage to with the help of fellow student Ray (Diego Luna). Later, Marlo (Nina Dobrev), a rival of Ray, arrives and learns of the experiment.Ellen Page in Flatliners (2017)Initially Courtney begins to recall memories of past events such as her grandmother’s recipe for bread. Courtney experiences increased intelligence and euphoria, being suddenly able to play the piano after 12 years and answer questions in class perfectly. Envious, Jamie flatlines, but has a disturbing near death experience as he meets his ex-girlfriend. Marlo and Sophia follow suit and flatline, for an increasing number of minutes. During Sophia’s turn they are nearly caught and flee the hospital and arrive at a party. Courtney and Jamie start seeing visions of past mistakes, but do not tell the others.Ellen Page and James Norton in Flatliners (2017)It soon turns into a living horror as those who flatlined find themselves haunted by their visions: Courtney is haunted by her dead sister Tessa from a car crash she caused because she was using her phone. Jamie is haunted by the baby of his ex-girlfriend whom he got pregnant and begged to get an abortion. Marlo is haunted by a man named Cyrus (who was stung by jellyfish) whom she killed when she accidentally mixed up his medication, and Sophia is haunted by a girl named Irina whose life she ruined out of jealousy by hacking her phone and sending out her nudes. This allowed Sophia to become valedictorian. They realize there is a downside to flatlining.Kiefer Sutherland, Ellen Page, and Nina Dobrev in Flatliners (2017)The hauntings get more and more intense. Courtney, traumatised by her visions, records a message apologising for the consequences and admitting that her interest in flatlining was due to the death of her sister, not for scientific discovery. Shortly after, she is chased by visions of her dead sister and falls to her death from the fire escape of her apartment building after her sister’s ghost appears in front of her and pushes her off. The others are devastated when they learn of Courtney’s death and then panic when they realize they may be implicated if anyone discovers their experiments. After attempting to remove all notes and evidence from Courtney’s apartment, Marlo is sent to the morgue to find Courtney’s phone. She is once again haunted by visions. Meanwhile, on his boat, Jamie again hears the cries of a baby and a woman weeping. He falls out of his boat and swims to the dock where a figure stabs him in his hand.Diego Luna, Ellen Page, Nina Dobrev, and James Norton in Flatliners (2017)The group watches Courtney’s recording and find out that she had encountered similar hauntings. They come clean to the mistakes that they made and soon come to the conclusion that the hauntings they’re experiencing are their hallucinations because of guilt from their past sins, not paranormal beings. Ray, the only one who didn’t flatline, initially disbelieves what’s happening. The group takes action to stop the hallucinations by fixing their past mistakes. Sophia visits Irina to apologize, which Irina accepts. Jamie visits his ex-girlfriend and discovers she didn’t get an abortion, but kept the baby; he apologizes and promises to provide for his son. Later, Ray and Marlo get into a fight when Ray finds out Marlo covered up the real reason Cyrus died and she refuses to come clean. Marlo hallucinates being suffocated while driving and crashes her car. Tired of being haunted by her hallucinations, Marlo flatlines on her own in the hope of asking forgiveness of the patient that died due to her mistake.Kiersey Clemons in Flatliners (2017)Ray, Sophia, and Jamie rush to stop her and are successful in resuscitating Marlo after she sees an apparition of Courtney who tells Marlo that she needs to forgive herself. In the end, Marlo, Ray, Sophia, and Jamie reminisce about Courtney and celebrate their friendships in the little restaurant they hang out at, where there is a performance of the piano piece that Courtney played. The movie ends with Jamie proposing a toast, honoring Courtney.Nina Dobrev in Flatliners (2017)Flatliners is never boring, capturing the fun lives of the up and coming professionals of tomorrow, and the horror of when things go terribly wrong. The latter however is not given the depth it deserves, and coupled with its weak conclusion, the richness of the films potential goes largely untouched.

REVIEW: THE SENTINEL

CAST

Michael Douglas (Ant-Man)
Kiefer Sutherland (Pompeii)
Eva Longoria (Harsh Times)
Kim Basinger (Batman)
Martin Donovan (Saved)
David Rasche (Ugly Betty)
Kristin Lehman (Andromeda)
Gloria Reuben (Falling Skies)
Blair Brown (Fringe)

Pete Garrison (Michael Douglas) is a Secret Service agent and one of the personal bodyguards for First Lady of the United States Sarah Ballentine (Kim Basinger), with whom he is having an affair. He is one of the oldest and most experienced agents, having been involved in saving Ronald Reagan’s life. His close friend and fellow agent, Charlie Merriweather (Clark Johnson), is murdered. Garrison gets word from a trusted informant that the killing of Merriweather is related to an assassination plot against the President. The intelligence provided by the informant reveals the presence of a mole with access to the President’s security detail.

The Secret Service Protective Intelligence Division, led by Garrison’s estranged friend and former protégé David Breckinridge (Kiefer Sutherland), with rookie partner Jill Marin (Eva Longoria), is tasked with investigating the plot. Breckinridge orders every agent to be subjected to a polygraph test. Meanwhile, the mole discovers the discussion with the informant and Garrison’s affair with the first lady, and attempts to blackmail Garrison by luring him to a coffee shop known to be a meeting point for a Colombian cartel. After delaying for some time, Garrison is subjected to a polygraph. The agent in charge of the Presidential Protective Division, William Montrose (Martin Donovan), decides to randomly select the means of transporting the president using a coin toss. As the President and first lady visit Camp David, Garrison’s informant calls, demanding that his payment be made at a shopping mall food court. Garrison goes to meet him, but he disappears in the crowd, and an assassin tries to kill Garrison. The agents pursue the assassin, but he escapes. Simultaneously, the presidential helicopter is shot down by a surface-to-air missile outside of Camp David, though neither the President nor his wife were aboard (due to Montrose’s coin “deciding” to use the motorcade instead).

Garrison failed the polygraph test due to concealing his affair with the First Lady. Breckinredge confronts him at his home and interrogates him, pinning him as the prime suspect. The source of rancor between them comes to light: Garrison supposedly had an affair with Breckinridge’s wife and caused the breakup of their marriage, which he denies. Garrison escapes capture and conducts his own investigation of the assassination plot. He tries to contact the informant who gave him the tip, but finds that he has been killed. In pursuit, Breckinridge gets the drop on Garrison but is unable to kill him, despite having given other agents “shoot to kill” orders. Using his contacts with sympathetic agents and family members, Garrison tracks down the location of one of the assassins, whom he kills in a firefight. He searches his apartment, finding evidence that shows the perpetrators are headed to Toronto to attack the president at a G8 summit. He leaves it in the apartment and tells Marin about it, but the Secret Service find the evidence and body of the assassin were removed before they arrived.

The President’s wife discloses her affair with Garrison to Breckinridge, who now understands why Garrison failed his polygraph test. Together in Toronto, Garrison and Breckinridge discover the identity of the assassins and the mole, senior agent William Montrose (Martin Donovan), who was never polygraphed. Montrose is in charge of directing security at the summit. The leader of the assassins (Ritchie Coster) blackmails Montrose into helping him, threatening the agent’s family. Emotionally torn, Montrose is instructed to jam Secret Service’s radios, and leave the summit with the President via a specific route.

On the night of the President’s speech, Breckinridge and Garrison race to the summit. The assassins, posing as Royal Canadian Mounted Police Emergency Response Team officers, kill several agents and corner Montrose and the President in a subterranean tunnel. Montrose reveals his treason to the President and purposely steps in front of one of the assassins, who kills him. Garrison, Breckinridge and Marin arrive, rescuing the President and the First Lady and killing the assassins. As they reach the ground level, Montrose’s handler comes forward dressed as an RCMP officer to personally perform the killings. He takes Sarah hostage and aims his pistol at the President, but Garrison shoots him dead. In spite of these events, Garrison is forced to take an early retirement due to the disclosure of his affair with the first lady, who looks on sadly from her window as Garrison leaves the White House. He does, however, make peace with Breckinridge, who finally realizes that Garrison did not sleep with his wife. Breckinridge tells Garrison that he has a date with her that evening.When I saw “The Sentinel”, I went in with all the bad reviews in mind. But it turned out to be one of those movies where you go in not expecting much and come away being very pleased with the overall result. Despite the little niggles this is a great movie and I thoroughly recommend it.