Total Recall

Total Recall: Malice and Medicine

Exploring the mal of medical practice.

by | November 28, 2007 | Comments

Imagine what it might be like if you needed surgery.
 You’re more than a little nervous about the whole idea.  In fact when you think
about it, you’ll admit you’re frankly terrified by the whole idea.  What if
something goes wrong?  What if the doctors make a mistake?  And what if you
don’t wake up after the surgery?   Or worse yet, what if you wake up during
the procedure?

One of the scarier stories about medical mishaps in the
last few years is about a phenomenon called “anesthetic awareness.” Patients
talk about actually being awake and aware throughout an entire procedure and
feeling every sensation that the anesthetic is supposed to suppress, while being
completely unable to move or communicate with the doctors.  That’s the basic
premise of this week’s Awake,
Hayden Christensen
Jessica Alba
A man with a heart problem (Christensen) goes in for a transplant, but wakes up
during the procedure, yet totally unable to move.  And as if that wasn’t bad
enough, he hears his own doctor discussing plans to kill him.  Talk about adding
insult to injury.

Considering the level of trust that we as a society put in
healthcare professionals, the concept of putting a doctor in a malicious light
can be a very effective tool for a thriller.  Some folks are pretty squeamish
about needles and scalpels anyway, and when those tools are used to
intentionally inflict pain, it can be horrific. Some filmmakers have gone for
the easy scare with throwaway slashers like
Dr. Giggles
percent) and The
(0 percent), while even the
have some scary
medical overtones.  And then there’s that horrific scene in
Marathon Man
percent), which did for dentists what Jaws did for trips to the beach. 

But some films, like
Dirty Pretty
, and
The Constant
take the very concept of health care, pick it apart, and play
with our feelings of trust and hope.  That can be just as disturbing as anything
you’ll see in the goriest slasher films.

(75 percent) is
one of
Michael Crichton
‘s earliest directing efforts.  Fresh off the success of
, Crichton
used his own experience as a doctor to adapt Robin Cook’s novel about a dark
conspiracy in a Boston hospital. 
stars as a young resident who gets a little too curious about why
so many patients are coming out of surgery in comas.  Unfortunately, it looks
like every other doctor on staff (Michael
Richard Widmark
, and
Rip Torn) may be
in on the plot, and the film gets increasingly more paranoid as time goes by. 
Bujold eventually discovers that the hospital is in the business of harvesting
organs from certain patients, and she narrowly avoids losing her own.

Michael Crichton’s Coma

Dirty Pretty
(94 percent) isn’t so much about a doctor who is evil, so
much as it’s about a doctor who may have to do evil things. 
plays Okwe, a Nigerian doctor who has illegally immigrated to
London.  He can’t practice in England because of his status, so he works a
variety of menial jobs to survive, and treats other illegal immigrants for extra
money.  While working as a hotel porter, he discovers a human heart, and his
quest to discover where it came from leads him to a dirty business of human
organs being traded for immigration papers, all while trying to stay out of
sight of immigration authorities.  It’s a frightening look at what it must be
like to live between the cracks of society, and how even someone with Okwe’s
training and morals is driven to extremes in order to survive.

Chiwetel Ejiofor and Audrey Tautou in Dirty Pretty Things

The Constant
(84 percent)
Ralph Fiennes
stars as a low-level British bureaucrat whose wife (Rachel
) was killed on a mercy mission in Africa.  As Fiennes investigates, it
at first seems like his wife may have been having an affair, but then he
discovers that she had been investigating the activities of a large,
multinational drug company.  Details of illegal testing, conspiracy and
government corruption come to light, and we learn that the businesses that make
medicine can be just as ruthless as any third world warlord.

A scene from The Constant Gardener

Tag Cloud

directors cooking doctor who period drama nature Writers Guild of America 2021 dexter Geeked Week joker pirates of the caribbean elevated horror criterion new zealand Black Mirror Pop Sony Discovery Channel Tokyo Olympics die hard Women's History Month police drama anime Disney Plus satire Film summer TV Rom-Com Lucasfilm Peacock Opinion OWN Drama MTV basketball adenture boxoffice monster movies batman marvel comics zombies Best and Worst halloween tv streaming sequels Rocky scorecard 73rd Emmy Awards Epix worst History slashers remakes Amazon Studios GoT NYCC Vudu HBO Go streamig 2018 ABC Family Creative Arts Emmys NBA young adult Tags: Comedy First Reviews witnail GIFs San Diego Comic-Con spanish children's TV Shudder Biopics Best Director HBO Max Hollywood Foreign Press Association Musicals films Esquire PBS South by Southwest Film Festival Christmas Emmys hollywood nbcuniversal DirecTV singing competition video on demand The Purge screenings adaptation Syfy anthology archives wonder woman 24 frames renewed TV shows political drama Heroines Classic Film BBC ViacomCBS Martial Arts football IFC Films women royal family Binge Guide Warner Bros. Netflix leaderboard 79th Golden Globes Awards Photos popular Oscars Polls and Games Kids & Family 2016 rt archives gangster space scary movies live action Shondaland blockbusters godzilla Broadway know your critic scene in color film series strong female leads Dark Horse Comics Disney+ Disney Plus sports comic book movies Hulu 90s latino aapi emmy awards Star Wars Celebration 007 critic resources HFPA The Academy Tubi Netflix Christmas movies Stephen King Music Holiday blockbuster Mary Poppins Returns rotten movies we love series debate Song of Ice and Fire Brie Larson black Star Wars Super Bowl Mudbound Fall TV Summer Starz james bond broadcast zombie social media hispanic feel good obituary CW Seed spider-verse christmas movies Red Carpet SundanceTV historical drama TCA 2017 quibi universal monsters posters tv talk documentary Interview romance mob diversity worst movies TIFF venice Spectrum Originals movie First Look Best Picture X-Men discovery Extras fresh war a nightmare on elm street YouTube Red Pop TV deadpool Rock what to watch Arrowverse Universal Film Festival indiana jones Musical SXSW 2022 94th Oscars thriller all-time Bravo toronto Awards Tour supernatural AMC black comedy USA Network Ghostbusters breaking bad Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Reality BBC One canceled TV shows DC streaming service Marathons legend New York Comic Con Best Actress Marvel Travel Channel Apple TV+ travel Universal Pictures Columbia Pictures Indigenous Paramount Network RT History TV Land TCA Awards HBO aliens TCA Fox News technology TBS Sci-Fi ABC Signature scary Animation MGM The Witch Black History Month dramedy APB interviews cancelled Endgame Comic Book Superheroe TV renewals olympics biography A&E Best Actor Instagram Live OneApp Pet Sematary YA unscripted stop motion spider-man razzies docudrama See It Skip It Trophy Talk richard e. Grant Trailer cats Ellie Kemper rom-coms Cannes festivals jurassic park spy thriller Crackle Pirates El Rey documentaries GLAAD mutant Comedy CBS All Access Watching Series Logo sopranos YouTube Mystery international Nat Geo parents streaming movies Premiere Dates MCU Awards SDCC medical drama reboot Action NBC toy story Pacific Islander golden globe awards DC Universe BAFTA DC Comics kong FX on Hulu spain Tumblr japan comic books Freeform Alien Year in Review video 2020 Ovation science fiction Nickelodeon summer TV preview crime drama 2019 Marvel Studios IMDb TV dogs comic 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards politics laika child's play screen actors guild french lord of the rings TCM hispanic heritage month dc composers Legendary Schedule American Society of Cinematographers name the review Oscar ghosts book Video Games Calendar comiccon mcc rotten animated kids Winter TV art house Fargo TNT based on movie superman Disney streaming service Toys werewolf ratings dceu Nominations cartoon adventure Crunchyroll stoner heist movie classics Spike Lionsgate twilight genre Emmy Nominations Prime Video comedies Set visit rt labs critics edition Wes Anderson Pride Month Thanksgiving Neflix prank cinemax FOX cancelled TV shows Tomatazos 1990s Masterpiece Mary Tyler Moore marvel cinematic universe dragons jamie lee curtis 71st Emmy Awards E! A24 saw 93rd Oscars Paramount Plus sag awards Food Network ESPN dreamworks AMC Plus theme song LGBTQ Funimation Fox Searchlight RT21 Television Academy true crime Holidays 2017 Disney Channel Amazon The Walking Dead reviews DGA Tarantino Valentine's Day WGN news slasher boxing superhero facebook green book chucky TV The Walt Disney Company Academy Awards casting Image Comics MSNBC talk show high school Lifetime Christmas movies Rocketman kaiju Hear Us Out target hist WarnerMedia live event Fantasy TLC cancelled TV series Lifetime TV One cults Hallmark National Geographic hidden camera franchise crime thriller miniseries E3 ITV finale independent Character Guide Turner Sneak Peek Showtime sitcom Country Comics on TV IFC summer preview PaleyFest Spring TV disaster Television Critics Association Acorn TV Cosplay Turner Classic Movies robots Box Office biopic cancelled television TCA Winter 2020 Mindy Kaling psychological thriller versus Marvel Television 20th Century Fox The CW book adaptation italian concert crossover south america action-comedy new york comics Cartoon Network CNN Comedy Central Comic-Con@Home 2021 teaser fast and furious game show Chilling Adventures of Sabrina BBC America psycho 72 Emmy Awards Apple TV Plus ID zero dark thirty foreign VOD ABC Sundance trophy comic book movie king kong FXX TV movies crime sequel scene in color VH1 4/20 nfl Amazon Prime Video Paramount Sony Pictures television Mary poppins japanese Reality Competition cops Star Trek Sundance Now YouTube Premium Amazon Prime Anna Paquin 21st Century Fox award winner Native golden globes Focus Features Certified Fresh romantic comedy BET best Infographic President Western telelvision justice league mission: impossible Adult Swim CBS Countdown LGBT movies Captain marvel Apple transformers Chernobyl revenge Podcast Elton John mockumentary dark CMT australia halloween Teen king arthur Paramount Pictures canceled docuseries asian-american vampires Hallmark Christmas movies PlayStation TruTV Disney VICE stand-up comedy target scene in color Pixar scene in color series Sundance TV obi wan 99% spinoff Trivia critics vs. Grammys Quiz BET Awards Horror Superheroes free movies Election Avengers The Arrangement serial killer Baby Yoda blaxploitation FX Family USA natural history SXSW binge spanish language Britbox indie Winners Exclusive Video 2015 harry potter cars festival new star wars movies 45 Walt Disney Pictures trailers suspense game of thrones rt labs