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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Final (review)

Science fiction and independent film don’t mix often, and that’s a shame, because true SF depends not upon expensive FX but only upon the posing of interesting speculations about technology and culture and the exploration of the effects of those conjectures on people. Here’s a great example of how SF on the cheap works. In what amounts to practically a two-person show, Denis Leary (Company Man) and Hope Davis (Hearts in Atlantis) square off: he’s a psychiatric patient, convinced he was cryogenically frozen in the year 1999 and now, 400 years later, he’s about to become an involuntary organ donor and is only awaiting the final injection that will kill him; she’s the doctor who tries to convince him that the nervous breakdown-induced accident that put him in the hospital has affected his memory and spawned these pessimistic delusions. What’s really going on? The truth is neither as dramatic nor as mundane as you’d expect. Two intense performances — both characters, we discover, are recovering from their own traumas — culminate in a wrenching climax. Actor Campbell Scott, in his solo directorial debut, adapts Bruce McIntosh’s screenplay with a spare immediateness, deeply personalizing the consequences of a medical and scientific predicament that’s so probable that it’s just barely fiction, which makes it all the more affecting.


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MPAA: not rated

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

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