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

golden globes Christmas Trailer 2015 Mary Tyler Moore TV Land Syfy biography Infographic YouTube Red Watching Series robots American Society of Cinematographers Year in Review social media political drama Amazon El Rey aliens LGBTQ Starz The Arrangement Masterpiece Creative Arts Emmys ESPN Sci-Fi Holidays Summer Music Marvel DirecTV FOX boxoffice PaleyFest Hulu sports Cosplay cops Fantasy MSNBC Podcast unscripted Universal Winners Warner Bros. E! Box Office crime drama Ellie Kemper police drama Comic Book BET crime thriller MTV CBS Emmys E3 Rom-Com Superheroes Awards Interview Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt binge RT History X-Men ITV ratings USA Network Shondaland supernatural 21st Century Fox historical drama DC Comics composers PBS Trivia cinemax serial killer singing competition Ghostbusters Rocky Cartoon Network Extras GLAAD dramedy Oscars Fox News Musicals Mystery dc Winter TV Video Games 20th Century Fox USA SundanceTV History based on movie Britbox See It Skip It First Look adventure TBS SDCC Sundance Country cults 24 frames Tumblr CW Seed Animation DC streaming service Acorn TV Crackle Opinion AMC transformers ABC Family Red Carpet ABC Sony Pictures IFC Films Super Bowl TCM Horror war Comedy Central Musical TNT Drama Paramount Network technology Comedy Lionsgate HBO Disney IFC crime Biopics medical drama TV Lucasfilm GIFs Reality Fall TV CNN Sneak Peek Photos discovery psycho Certified Fresh APB sitcom DC Universe Pirates Showtime FX Schedule talk show TCA 2017 Thanksgiving VH1 spy thriller Grammys romance Netflix Spring TV Western Rock science fiction YA Paramount Star Trek Mindy Kaling BBC Character Guide VICE Writers Guild of America Sundance Now Adult Swim zombie thriller Calendar vampires Nat Geo Set visit Lifetime 007 Premiere Dates Reality Competition Superheroe 2016 Nickelodeon Marathons WGN travel TCA TLC Toys what to watch TruTV Star Wars NBC Martial Arts Food Network Nominations Logo harry potter CBS All Access cats NYCC Kids & Family dceu President Action A&E OWN 45 Esquire Freeform Tomatazos Election justice league Spike period drama The CW Polls and Games BBC America Pixar GoT CMT Dark Horse Comics diversity cooking Teen 2017 docudrama Countdown Valentine's Day politics Best and Worst Disney Channel FXX comiccon Bravo TIFF Pop