Flatliners

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Released 1990

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8.7
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Movie Summary

Director:
Joel Schumacher
Released:
1990
Rating:
R

Flatliners is a 1990 supernatural thriller starring Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland as medical students experimenting with near-death experiences. At a Chicago hospital, Nelson (Kiefer Sutherland) tries to convince his fellow medical students to allow him to spend one minute clinically dead before they resuscitate him. At first, his fellow doctors-in-training Rachel (Julia Roberts), David (Kevin Bacon), Joe (William Baldwin) and Randy (Oliver Platt) do not want to risk Nelson's life but agree after he makes a convincing argument for being scientists. Nelson describes a fantastic dream realm between death and awakening, where he meets people from his past. His description leads the others to taking a turn on the medical table, but they find themselves trying to spend more time in the zone. They also begin to recognize elements from their dream life popping up in their ordinary existence. Director Joel Schumacher effectively blends suspense and nightmares in this spooky thriller.

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Metacritic Score

  • 75

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Flatliners is an original, intelligent thriller, well-directed by Joel Schumacher. I only wish it had been restructured so we didn't need to go through the same crisis so many times.

  • 75

    Chicago Tribune Dave Kehr

    It's much to Schumacher's credit that Flatliners, for all of its crazy excess, does not turn into camp.

  • 63

    The Seattle Times John Hartl

    Their performances lend the movie a touch of class, even if they can't make up for the superficial writing and Schumacher's anything-for-a-jolt direction.

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Themes

Thrillers, Psychological, Supernatural