Reviewed by: Zombie Boy
What's it about
A young doctor discovers a possible conspiracy to put patients into comas at the hospital in which she works.
Is it good movie?
Bujold is Dr. Susan Wheeler, a headstrong young physician at the fictitious Boston Memorial Hospital. Her stubbornness sometimes clashes with her boyfriend and fellow doctor Mark. So when Susan’s friend Nancy slips into a coma at the hospital from a routine procedure, everyone just sort of rolls their eyes when Susan tries to investigate and thinks, that’s just Susan. You know: a woman. Histrionic, prone to crying. The weaker sex. Except that she starts to turn up evidence of the same thing happening to many other young, healthy patients in for routine procedures.
These patients are then sent off to the high tech and high creepy Jefferson Institute, where computers monitor and care for patients in persistent vegetative states. Except is that really what they’re doing? Susan’s investigation soon finds a link between BMH and Jefferson, as well as some disturbing evidence of what happens to the bodies once they expire. And then she finds herself on the receiving end of hit men. She has to find out how far the conspiracy goes, and who’s involved, before she winds up in an unexplainable coma herself.
I like this movie quite a bit. Its fear of computer monitoring and the feminist thread running through it are just as relevant now as they were 34 years ago. It also has an atypical female lead in Genevičve Bujold, and avoids most action movie clichés (though it does have a dollop of whodunit tropes). It has a slower pace than most movies of its kind, which I kind of enjoy. And apparently there is still enough interest in the idea to have seen it turned into a television series just this year.
It I also worth note that the film is based on the first novel by Robin Cook, a medical doctor, and was directed by fellow author and medical doctor Michael Crichton. Which rings several geek bells for me.
Video / Audio
Video:1080p, 1.85:1, enhanced for 16x9 televisions. The transfer looks good, though there is some grain in darker scenes.
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio, with English and French in 1,0, and Spanish in 2.0. As with the other recent Warner Bros. Blu-Ray releases of older films, the volume is attenuated. It sounds fine, but you have to turn it up really loud to hear it. The disc also has optional English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles.
Just the original theatrical trailer.
COMA is a rather quiet film for its genre, but still an effective one. It concerns itself with concepts that stand up to the test of time, such as the increasing presence of computer in our lives and casual misogyny in the workplace, and still makes quite an impact. Anyone who’s ever gone under the knife knows the fear of never waking up, even if it’s for a relatively minor procedure. And even though it’s a bare bones release, it’s still nice to have this one on Blu-Ray.