Brainstorm (1983)

Article 4412 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 1-4-2014
Directed by Douglas Trumbull
Featuring Christopher Walken, Natalie Wood, Louise Fletcher
Country: USA
What it is: Science fiction drama

A team of scientists develops the technology to record human experiences and play them back to others. It’s only after a while they begin to see the darker sides of this creation. Then, one of the scientists does a recording of her own death…

I will say this much; I like this movie a lot more than I do Trumbull’s first feature film directorial effort, SILENT RUNNING. I admire that it seeks to really explore the possibilities of this technological development, and some of the imagery is quite breathtaking. The movie had a troubled history, though; Natalie Wood died before the movie had been completed, and the studio wanted to dump the project, but Trumbull insisted on continuing, and though he did get the movie completed, he was not allowed to make another feature film for a major studio. These problems might explain why, despite the movie’s ambitions, it feels curiously incomplete, jagged and not quite satisfying. Also, I’m not quite sure I like the way the movie veers into the metaphysical; the ending looks like it was trying to outdo the star gate sequence in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY in terms of visual pizzazz, and though it’s quite slick and pretty to look at, it’s also rather empty. The movie tries so hard at times to be a visual feast that the characters get lost in the mix. Still, I am impressed at the ambition on display here.


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