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Marc experiences a terrible shock when, at just 32, he is diagnosed with a disease and is given one year to live, at best. Unable to accept his death, he decides to freeze his body before the disease can impair it. His great love, Naomi, will accompany him in the process, although she’d rather care for him until his natural end. Sixty years later, an institution called Prodigy Health Corporation manages to revive him. Although his return to life comes with many medical complications, his body clings to life. It’s the soul that is harder to heal, especially when your only family in this new era is embodied by a medical team, and your past refuses to leave your mind even though it is all hazy. After having faced death itself, Marc’s second chance doesn’t come as idyllically as he’d imagined.
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The cinematography in REALIVE was nice. The movie is filmed in two timelines. Before re-animation and after re-animation. The ‘before’ is done in soft, warm colors with movement and laughter and light. The ‘after’ in cold blues and sharp lines. The facility in the future is conveyed as state of the art and, er, ‘futuristic’ without being over the top. Its crisp, stark, and rather effective even without a bunch of wires and monitoring equipment everywhere.
To be honest, I had no real desire to watch REALIVE. From the stills and the trailer, I thought ‘eh, not my type of movie’ and didn’t give it a second thought. But then I was offered a chance to do an interview with one of the actors, so I decided to give it a go. REALIVE really isn’t my type of movie. I prefer blood, guts, and shoot-em-ups. Spaceships, aliens, and planetary exploration. I don’t do feels or thought-provoking flicks as a general rule of thumb. I appreciate that they’re around for the people who like ’em, but they just don’t get my motor running. This is, I thought as I was starting it up, the type of movie where I’m going to end up picking a book up halfway through it. I was wrong.
One of my favorite things about the movie was how it handled the subject of cryogenics and reanimation. This isn’t one of those movies where it’s like “Yes, you are alive again and everything is perfect” It was one that actually looked seriously at how reanimation would actually work. While I don’t want to give anything away, let’s just say that this is the most believable approach to reviving someone from cryostasis that I’ve ever read or seen. From the actual reanimation itself to the body’s adjustments afterwards.
The love story is also well-handled in REALIVE. It isn’t typical, and it isn’t super-mushy. It’s got an element of star-crossed lovers to it, but not quite that bad. It was there, but it wasn’t what the story was all about (to me, at least.)
The ending of the movie was deftly handled as well. It was one of those deals where you were pretty sure you knew how things were going to end up once you were past the halfway point, but you still couldn’t look away.
Overall, REALIVE was a fantastically done movie. It put tears in my eyes. That’s a fairly difficult thing to do. From the script to the editing, there’s very little I would have changed. (Literally, there’s like one scene involving two of the doctors that was a bit much. That’s it.) I’m happy that I decided to watch it, and definitely highly recommend it to all my fellow sci-fi lovers out there.
Disclaimer: I received a free screening of this movie for review consideration.
I've never seen a film that dealt so well with the topic of cryogenics and the practical aspects of reanimation. Similar films have dealt with what it might be like to wake up in a hundred years when everyone you know is gone and the challenges of technology present you with a steep learning curve. They're more about reanimated visitors to future worlds, similar to time travelers. This film takes the opposite approach and focuses on the person who chooses cryogenic freezing in the here and now. It explores individual psychology and interpersonal dynamics of a dying person then hypothesizes what life might be like for them if/when reanimation becomes a reality.
Realistically, reanimation is more likely to be far from perfect or will never be realized at all. The frozen bodies of today will eventually be buried or cremated as these businesses go bankrupt. Even if attempts are made to reanimate people initial trials are bound to end in utter failure. The few who do survive will likely have existential issues similar to the protagonist in this film and will also suffer unforeseen medical complications. Overall, what would be the point of pursuing such an expensive technology on a severely overcrowded, polluted planet? It would amount to nothing more than a costly scientific parlor trick, a flash in the pan, of interest only to those involved in the reanimation research, itself. Just because something is possible, of course, doesn't mean there's any merit in pursuing it. Such topics are all covered thoughtfully in "Realive."
If anything I've mentioned is of interest to you I think this film will certainly pique your interest. The film doesn't scream "high budget" and yet the sets and lighting are all very effective. The writing is exceptionally thoughtful/insightful and the direction is subtle and elegant. The acting is uniformly wonderful but Tom Hughes is particularly outstanding as the protagonist; his scenes in the future with his physician are very effective as are the ones with his reanimation nurse. Highly recommended!