Saturday, March 24, 2007

EXTREME MEASURES (Castlerock 1996) Warner Home Video

Michael Apted’s Extreme Measures (1996) is a bone-chilling, bare-knuckled medical thriller. The film stars Hugh Grant as brilliant doctor in residence, Guy Luthan. However, Guy’s future in medicine is brought into question when he begins to investigate the sudden death of Claude Minkins (Shaun Austin-Olsen), an escapee patient who died on Guy’s watch and whose body has since mysteriously vanished.

Soon Guy begins to suspect a conspiracy is taking place right under his nose at the hospital – one in which innocent healthy patient’s are being experimented on for the purpose of stem cell research. Guy’s key suspect is noted surgeon, Dr. Lawrence Myrick (Gene Hackman), a man too readily available to provide alterior motives and theories.

Unable to quantify his suspicions, Guy engages nurse, Jodie Trammel (Sarah Jessica Parker) to access classified files. But Guy is discovered by his superior, Dr. Jeffrey Manko (Paul Guilfoyle) and placed on suspension. Soon, Guy realizes that the forces at work are not merely engaged in a cover up, but they are also plotting to have him killed.

Director Apted manages to create and sustain an ominous sense of foreboding throughout the entire film. As an audience, we are drawn into Guy’s speculations from the start and forced to consider his, and our own, growing paranoia. The screenplay by Tony Gilroy (based on the book by Michael Palmer), delivers top notch thrills – never allowing the tension to subside, but constantly evolving the narrative to its climactic showdown. Taut, compelling, and ultimately, unsettling, Extreme Measures is required viewing.

Warner Home Video’s DVD exhibits adequate image quality. The anamorphic widescreen image has been nicely rendered with rich, fully saturated colors, solidly rendered contrast levels and a considerable amount of fine detail evident throughout. Age related artifacts persist, but do not distract. A slight hint of edge enhancement also intrudes. Certain scenes appear to suffer from film grain, transferred as digital grit. The audio is 5.1 Dolby Digital and aggressively enveloping. There are NO extras. Recommended!

FILM RATING (out of 5 - 5 being the best)



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