Thursday, October 1, 2015


Year 7, Day 274 - 10/1/15 - Movie #2,166

BEFORE: This is not the start of the Halloween chain, though it is about tracking down a serial killer, I think.  I've got more kid-friendly stuff coming up in the next few days.  Still, it's kind of cool that this lined up with October 1, it wasn't originally going to, but then I took that two-day trip to Atlantic City, so a turn to darker fare ended up happening at just the right time.

THE PLOT: Unsuccessfully framed for his wife's murder, Dr. David Krane attempts to find the real culprit by utilizing a new drug that allows him to experience the memories of other people first-hand.  

AFTER: Ugh, I don't even know where to begin, I've got so many criticisms to make related to this film's premise and plot points.  This is just junk science, plain and simple, and I guarantee that no one did even an ounce of medical research before writing this dumb-ass script.  This takes place in a world, much like our own, only it's possible to take a syringe full of cerebro-spinal fluid (is that even a thing?) out of one person, living or dead, and inject it into another person, who can then experience specific memories of the first person.  (There's a TV show now called iZombie, where a zombie eats the brains of dead people to experience their memories and solve crimes, and honestly, that sounds more believable than this premise, even with the zombie thing.)

And wouldn't you know, the memories contain exactly the right information needed, just what our hero is searching for, he doesn't have to fast-forward through a bunch of meaningless days, or time spent in the grocery check-out line, since certain memories are very traumatic, they're somehow right there on the surface, they're the first ones seen.  What a load of hooey.  

Look, even if it were possible for memories to be somehow chemically coded into spinal fluid, which it's not (long-term memories are believed to be stored in sets of neurons, which fire together in particular patterns, not in brain fluid or spinal fluid - I looked that up in about 5 seconds) and even if it were somehow possible that another person's brain could somehow decode that information from the fluid, again, which it's not, we've got another big problem here.  Namely that the fluid comes out of one person's spinal cortex thingy, and Dr. Krane injects it NOT into his own brain, but into his arm.  How the hell is his arm supposed to read the encoded memories?  

OK, so he injects it into his bloodstream, and we can assume it travels up to his brain, right?  Yes, but's that not how memories enter the brain - if you believe that most learning is done visually, then information enters the brain via the retinas, and gets converted to electrical signals via the optic nerve.  If blood enters the brain, it's not there to bring information, but oxygen instead.  Again, no one took even the most rudimentary look at the way that either the circulatory system or the nervous system works.  And I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to inject anything into your bloodstream that isn't, you know, blood.  What if the drug or the spinal fluid ended up going to the kidneys before it got to the brain?  

Next, we come to another problem - memories are not reliable.  This film would have you believe that even if you could access another person's memories by injection, and watch the exact important moment of their life that you need to see, and it would play out on your eyeballs like a movie, that what you would then see would be the absolute truth.  But memories fade, people remember things differently over time, sometimes one memory might get mixed up with another.  It's suspect information at best, certainly not admissible in any court, and one shouldn't accuse another person of a crime based on something as unreliable as another person's memory.  

Another problem - even if you could inject another person's memories into your body and experience them, which you can't, they should all look like first-person POV memories, right?  I mean, that person could only experience what they could see with their eyeballs, yet the memories are all seen from other angles, like camera shots.  A person's memories are not third-person two-shots, perfectly framed to see the action in a room - they should all be like the footage you see from a GoPro attached to an athlete's helmet.  

Furthermore, who the heck saved cerebro-spinal fluid from his dead wife?  According to this film, they save a vial of it from every dead person, but I doubt that very much.  What possible use could it have, especially since she died before someone invented the process by which we could transfer the decoded memories out of it?  (Assuming those memories are even in the fluid, which they're not.)  Nope, they just happen to have a vial of her fluid in the lab - do you know how many dead people there are?  Are we saving vials of everyone's blood, spinal fluid and god knows what just for fun?  What lab is storing all of this stuff, for no practical reason?  

And another thing - this guy says he was framed for his wife's murder, and he swears he's innocent, but everyone else still thinks that he did it, and he just got off on a technicality.  How did he get his job back at the medical examiner's office?  He has to work every day alongside with police detectives who all think he killed his wife.  That's awkward at best, and really unprofessional to boot.  There's just no way the integrity of his office would be preserved under that condition - he'd surely be encouraged to resign, considering that he would have zero respect from police.  

There's just no way, all around.  This film starts out as unbelievable, becomes unfathomable, and is ultimately unwatchable. 

Also starring Ray Liotta (last seen in "Killing Them Softly"), Linda Fiorentino, Peter Coyote (last seen in "Patch Adams"), David Paymer (last seen in "Amistad"), Kim Coates (last seen in "The Last Boy Scout"), Kim Cattrall (last seen in "The Ghost Writer"), Duncan Fraser, Garwin Sanford.

RATING: 2 out of 10 lab rats

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