Flatliners (1990) – 4K Ultra HD Review


Directed by Joel Schumacher.
Starring Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt and Kevin Bacon.



by Joel Schumacher flatlinersthat never reaches the maximum of movies like The missing child Y Falling down but it is fortunately better than batman and robin, arrives in 4K Ultra HD courtesy of Arrow Video. The film was restored and Arrow commissioned a good batch of extras, along with a booklet containing two essays. If you are a fan, this is highly recommended.


If you’re going to make a high-concept movie, you have to deliver the goods. In the case of the 90 flatlinersdirected by Joel Schumacher from a script by Peter Filardi, the final product unfortunately does not live up to the premise raised in the first act of the story.

It starred three actors who were flying high at the time, Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts and Kevin Bacon, with two others who were reliable members of the ensemble, William Baldwin and Oliver Platt. flatliners tells the story of a group of medical school students who want to solve the mysteries of death by collapsing and being brought back to life by their colleagues.


Nelson Wright (Sutherland) is the ringleader, the one who convinces the others to help him become the first person to attempt the feat. He promises that if they can understand what happens after death, they’ll become famous, but it’s unclear if he has any plans beyond a bunch of greetings. Considering that there are many people who have told stories of being brain dead and coming back to life, what will make these medical students more believable than them?

The movie doesn’t answer that question, nor does it really explain why the four who successfully attempt the flatline (Randy Steckle (Platt) is the most reluctant and ends up never trying) have multiple paranormal experiences afterwards. The idea is that they are being hunted by those they harmed in some way when they were younger, but the story begs the question of whether those incidents are somehow real, especially considering the fact that Nelson is literally scarred by their appearances.

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In the end, flatliners it’s a movie with a solid cast and a great premise, but it never quite delivers on the promise of its high concept. It’s become something of a cult movie though, so if you’re one of those people who enjoys it, you’ll probably want this new 4K Ultra HD release from Arrow Video, which continues to do for minor classics what Criterion has done. . for the older ones.

Arrow commissioned a new 4K restoration of the film which was approved by cinematographer Jan de Bont. (Schumacher passed away in 2020, unfortunately.) This isn’t a movie that really benefits much from 4K, as it doesn’t have a lot of special effects, but Arrow has released flatliners on Blu-ray too, which I’m sure is adequate for most people’s setups. The movie looked great on my 4K TV.


Arrow also created a large number of extras for the film. I have never had flatliners on home video before, but I understand it hasn’t gotten a good Special Edition treatment so far. This is what you will find on the disk:

• Audio Commentary – Film critics Bryan Reesman and Max Evry break down the film in a wide-ranging conversation that shows they did their homework and came prepared to impart a lot of valuable information about the film. At one point the term “forgotbuster” comes up, coined to refer to a film that was successful during its theatrical run but is now largely forgotten. I’m not sure about that flatliners falls into that category, it didn’t even hit $100 million in box office receipts during its run, but, as always, your mileage may vary.

The conquest of our generation (19 minutes) – Screenwriter Peter Filardi discusses where the idea for the film came from and how he ended up writing and selling the script, which he sold during a time when every Hollywood studio seemed to be pouring a lot of money into every high-end script. concept. they could find. An interesting conclusion is that the word “accountability” was on his mind when he came up with it. flatliners, which shows you that a high-concept idea is one thing, but grounding it in a very human element can take a movie to the next level. (Consider how Zemeckis and Gale came up with Return to the future under the premise of “What if you could meet your parents when they were in high school?”)

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visions of light (18.5 minutes): Director of photography Jan de Bont and chief lighting technician Edward Ayer talk about their work on the film. It’s interesting that JJ Abrams is in so much pain from lens flares these days when Schumacher filled this movie with them. (Side note: I know they shot flatliners in a real university, but none of the settings tell me “This is a typical medical school experience.” However, I guess the mix of urban squalor and gothic decay shown here fits the tone of the film quite well.)

Hereafter (14.5) First assistant director John Kretchmer weighs in on the film. If you’re wondering what a Prime AD does, as it’s often shorthand for the job title, on a film set, Kretchmer will answer your questions here.

Restoration (10.75 mins): Production Designer Eugenio Zanetti and Art Director Larry Lundy get a chance to say a few things about the aforementioned environments, with modern images of those places. (Yes, nothing is said about the actual restoration of the film for this release, but it is clear that the names of these additional features are supposed to comprise a theme related to the film.)

Atonement (11.5 mins): And if you were wondering about fun bonus feature titles, here’s one that fits the religious undertones of the movie and is a good pun on the theme, which is an interview with the composer James Newton Howard and orchestrator Chris Boardman.

Dress for character (6.5 minutes): Costume designer Susan Becker’s audio-only interview completes the short films found here.


A theatrical trailer and a gallery of images complete the plate. Arrow also included a booklet with two essays and notes on the restoration, which is a nice touch in an era where only they and Criterion are doing that.

Flashing Myth Rating – Movie: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★

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