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Showing 1-10 of 33 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 39 reviews
TOP 500 REVIEWERon April 6, 2014
We have all seen and heard the issue of end of life in health care. The most money is spent in the last 3 months of one's life, presumably keeping someone alive. The need for 'Living Wills', and the need for someone in the family who knows and can speak go your wants around the subject of death.

Here we have an ICU setting, sort of a spaceship feel, with machines and lights with little human contact except for Nurse Stella, played by Helen Mirren. With her on this unit is Dr. Ernst, played brilliantly by James Spader. He works 36 hours on and hardly any time off. The guy in charge, Dr Butz, played so well by Albert Brooks has Korsikoff's Syndrome, a disease of alcoholism that produces a defunct liver and and a loss of memory.

They all center around patient in Bed 5. He is in a vegetative state, and has two daughters. Margo Martindale, plays Connie the devout one, and Kyra Sedgwick plays the other one. One wants him to die peacefully, the other wants everything done. Both are crazed in their way, specifically crazed about the family will.

The ethics of living and dying, insurance money, my will against yours, and what is truly best for the patient is overlooked for awhile. The ending, however, should cheer you. It still plays well, today.

Recommended. prisrob 04-06-14
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on May 18, 2014
This is a brilliant movie. The ingredients are: a knock out cast~ James Spader, Helen Mirren, Albert Brooks, Anne Bancroft, and several other talented faces. It it directed by Sidney Lumet. The screenplay and acting are superb. What you get is a glimpse into the true story of the health care system of western medicine that has failed us all except the top 1 percent of money grubbing, power hungry, greedy bastards ie. Hospitals, Doctors, lawyers, Insurance companies that rule the day & all our lives. It's played out through the lead character(Spader) a materialistic, power hungry, womanizing doctor, who is awakened to a growing conscience by several eye opening incidents he finds himself involved in throughout the film. The message is loud, clear & true. Our health system is only for the rich & doesn't serve their true needs either. It is a creative gem, that has been neglected by movie lovers. If you want entertainment only this isn't for you. It's real, raw and makes you feel the weight of it's truth. There is some great dark humor, and emotionally touching scenes. They help to balance out the cynical & painful truth that sneers at the viewer through out the film. It's a sleeper, that you need to see, to wake up!
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on June 1, 2016
I gave this 2 stars because I really, really like James Spader, but even he couldn't save this movie for me. If you are a Boston Legal fan, there is a scene reminiscent of Spader's BL character, Alan, addressing a room full of lawyers - which was a little fun to see and know that an amazing role was in his future. Helen Mirren also gives an excellent performance. Despite some good performances, I just didn't think the movie was that great.
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on April 6, 2017
Fun, older movie. Strange in a couple places. Totally enjoyed it. And who doesn't love a young James Spader. also an All-Star cast of people who have not gotten much older so fun to watch
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on January 16, 2015
This is a superb movie, layered in unexpected ways. It begins as a comedy, set in a pretty futuristic style hospital;, sleek, impersonal. The young doctor - beautifully played as always by the wonderful James Spader, well supported by Helen Mirren and Albert Brooks, looks at the issues of American Medicine: legislation; insurance, being sued, and always it's about the money not the patients. It's also about life and death, the right of the incurable to die, the power of life and death in such circumstances of the doctors and nurses. In pursuing these concepts the movie tone darkens slightly, even taking some almost surreal, mystical aspects, as the intern moves towards realising what being a doctor is really all about, and grows as person. Sadly though, there is an issue with this particular release - the sound level is so quiet that even turned full up, I needed to concentrate to hear everything.
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on September 4, 2017
I watched this as I am a huge James Spader fan. But, he really did not fit the role, and the movie itself was not good.
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Director, Sidney Lumet does it again. Inspirational and enlightening, Lumet highlights the struggle between what is right and what is expedient. Lumet focuses on the weakness of expediency, the strength of the almighty dollar, and the pull of conscience (for those who actually recognize that they are endowed with one), always cast aside by profiteers and how the choices are the test of character which most people fail. A great cast: Helen Mirren, James Spader, Kira Sedgewick, Albert Brooks, Anne Bancroft, Ed Herrman, and more, weigh in on profit versus Goodness, "do unto others...".

The issue at hand is one of the great ethical questions of our era pertaining to the technical capacity to keep people "Alive" virtually forever, or let them go to God.

The difficult problem is handled with a fine mix/balance of humor, satire, apoplexy, empathy and commonsense. After seeing it on IFC we bought a copy. Spader is the physician for a comatose man whose two daughters are divided on the issue of maintaining him in a vegetative state or pulling the plug. However, at stake is $10,000,000 (TEN MILLION) which goes to one sister if the plug is pulled and another if it is not. The battle widens when an army of lawyers for the hospital, the doctors, the insurance companies and each sister, weigh-in.
The moral/ethical/financial pinpoints are all exposed (the patient has iron clad insurance, which the hospital loves), and thrown in for good measure are a few mystical experiences in which both Kings of the great beyond struggle for a man's soul, and the souls of the two would be multi-millionaires.
Those who have a working conscience will love the ending.
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on March 27, 2012
Cute movie. I actually ordered it because I had a school project on a movie concerning an ethical issue. This fit the bill - and it was an overall lighthearted theme. Poked fun at medicine as a business, but it made you think about life and death, and tugged at your heartstrings at times. An overall feel good movie.
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on December 24, 2015
Spader provided great entertainment in this one, as is usual for him. For a guy who only does it for the money (his words, not mine) he does an outstanding job.
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on August 3, 2017
Not my favorite Spader movie.
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