HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Marjorie Prime
Hotel Salvation
Mangler, The
Shiraz
Mercy, The
Kickboxer: Retaliation
Molly Maguires, The
Party, The
Dante's Peak
Housemaid, The
Vendetta
Brimstone
Boys in the Trees
Once Were Warriors
Red Planet Mars
Blade Runner 2049
Devil's Express
Belko Experiment, The
Flashback
War of the Arrows
One-Trick Pony
Cloverfield Paradox, The
Beach Rats
In Between
Flesh Feast
Gerald's Game
Crocodile Dundee II
Baaghi
Bat People, The
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
   
 
Newest Articles
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
   
 
  Brainstorm What's On The Other Side?Buy this film here.
Year: 1983
Director: Douglas Trumbull
Stars: Christopher Walken, Natalie Wood, Louise Fletcher, Cliff Robertson, Jordan Christopher, Donald Hotton, Alan Fudge, Joe Dorsey, Bill Morey, Jason Lively, Darrell Larson, Stacey Kuhne-Adams
Genre: Thriller, Science Fiction
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: Michael Brace (Christopher Walken) is trying out the almost completed, experimental headset for the first time, and it seems to be going well. The idea is to create an electronic device which can make the wearer experience recorded imagery as if they were going through it themselves, and the results have been very convincing. Here Michael is given various flavours of food to taste through his co-worker's recording tool, is made to listen to loud noises, and even to see what it is like to be a chimp, thanks to the test animal sporting the other headset. Now they have to think of the gadget's practical applications - which could be sinister...

Brainstorm was a film that almost did not happen at all, and the sticking point for those putting up the money for the production was that one of its stars was dead. Natalie Wood had drowned in a not entirely explained boating accident one night about three quarters of the way through shooting, and so was naturally unavailable to complete her scenes, which meant director Douglas Trumbull was forced into a difficult position. He did not wish to abandon the work he had put in, felt that what he did have was enough to build a finished movie around, and besides, he wanted his work on it to be a tribute to Wood.

It's significant that Trumbull never worked for a movie studio in this way again after this, in spite of creating one of the most famous special effects sequences ever in 2001: A Space Odyssey and contributing to many more fan favourite scenes, because the whole trial he went through trying to do his best with what he was given in the face of that studio's interference and reluctance put him off feature films for life, it would appear. Two years after Wood's untimely demise, Brainstorm was released to what can best be described as a lukewarm reception, with many complimenting the effects, but complaining that it did not make good drama, and indeed looked more like a demonstration reel bulked up with romance and thriller elements.

Certainly those effects were impressive for the day, but even then they were not what Trumbull had wanted, having developed a new filming process that was in the end not used: audiences in cinemas had to make do with the picture changing ratio every time one of the characters put on the headset. Perhaps it was unsurprising that a filmmaker with so much investment in the technical side of things would have concentrated so much on the machines over the emotions, yet Trumbull had also directed Silent Running ten years before, and that has been known to tug at many a heartstring. It could be that those reshoots, with an ending that gives Natalie's Karen role a happier resolution (she played Walken's wife in an Eternal Sunshine-foreshadowing subplot) simply did too much damage.

And yet, Brainstorm does have its fans, reasoning that it was better for science fiction to reach for those stars rather than settle for less, which is pretty much what happened here. The headset is employed by the scientists for entertainment and educational aims, including one who implements it for pornography and almost fries his mind with a night-long orgasm, but with clich├ęd inevitability, there's a military conspiracy looming. Yes, the suits are keen to use this pioneering contraption for their own nefarious purposes, but Michael is dead against it, as is his colleague Lillian (Louise Fletcher), whose chainsmoking is a rather to obvious indication that we're going to get a recording of the moment of death, and we do, in the most protracted demise until the first part of The Lord of the Rings came along. Thereafter the concerns are with the hereafter, and with the characters verging on the two-dimensional, there's little of the depth and uplift that the finale intended coming across. Not that this isn't interesting, it was probably too badly sabotaged by bad luck. Music by James Horner.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1558 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Douglas Trumbull  (1942 - )

American special effects genius worked on 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Star Trek: The Motion Picture, but was less successful in his own directorial career. Silent Running was a cult hit, but subsequent projects never got off the ground. After an unhappy experience directing Brainstorm, Trumbull turned to creating theme park rides and IMAX projects.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
  Andrew Irvine
Ian Phillips
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: