Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Fantasia '16 Film Review - Realive

Marc Jarvis (Tom Hughes) is a highly successful California artist, just settled in with his longtime sporadic girlfriend Naomi (Oona Chaplin) , a beautiful home overlong the ocean and just found out that he has an inoperable throat cancer. His doctors give him a year to live but having seen his father suffer before his death Marc does not want to endure the same fate. Cryogenics is Marc's answer. He's encouraged by the recent developments in organ regeneration and stem cell research that medicine will advance to cure his cancer and bring him back to life. His brother voices the first medical concern of the film when he questions if these firms can be trusted or will the one he chooses be even viable when the time comes. Naomi is particularly upset as she was willing to spend all of his remaining time with him now Marc was taking that away for a risky chance to be reborn in the future.

Elizabeth (Charlotte Le Bon's) first day on the job at Prodigy Health in 2084 is just before Project Lazarus will be attempted on subject Marc Jarvis. Elizabeth will be the nurse then partner of the subject and signs a confidentially agreement as do all Prodigy employees. She is given a tour by Dr. West (Barry Ward) to learn the main elements of the upcoming surgery. As Marc's eyes flutter open he hears the voices then sees the faces of the medical team. He is barely able to speak at first plus he is connected to a computer through an umbilical cord plug that keeps him alive. He is surprised by how fragile he is as he takes his first steps. Next Marc is introduced to mind writer a headset that can record and store your memories.  The rebirth is not what he expected as Dr. West admits under questioning that Marc will likely not regain all of strength, will have to be connected to a computer on occasion on top of the early stages of memory loss that has started and can't be corrected.

Medical morality and the desire to beat death are the two main themes of writer director Mateo Gill's story. Although pitched to Elizabeth and Marc that Project Lazarus is a series of firsts Marc begins to ask questions then finds and watches the horrible videos of the failed Lazarus attempts before him. The medical team discuss the protests agains their work, the need to show a return on investment for their shareholders and how the project is on the verge of running out of money. Gill uses flashbacks as an effective plot device. While Marc is adjusting, learning and adapting in the future we see snippets  of major events his past right up to his decision to inject poison before the cancer spreads.

Tom Hughes carries the film as the main character Marc. He is calm, inquisitive, practical and analytical despite the fact that he's an artist. He does not show extreme emotion upon diagnosis but instead goes about systematically getting his affairs in order. Oona Chaplin's Naomi is his foil. She is a very emotionally being bouncing in and out of Tom's life but is by his side when needed the most. Charlotte LeBon is engaging throughout as Elizabeth. She's a caregiver, singularly concerned with the needs of her patient and adopts fully the widely held view of sex as a disposable commodity 70 years into the future.

Realive is a highly plausible piece of science fiction storytelling looking at where science and medicine are at today. The moral aspect will always be an issue especially the agenda of the cryogenic firms as they may not be willing or able to deliver on their contracts. Director Gill presents the potential dangers in once sequence of horrible testing errors from failed prior attempts.  In the future the subject matter will be intensely debated as technology advances light years ahead that the current work with animal organs and stem cells today.

*** Out of 4.

Realive | Mateo Gill | Spain /France | 2016 | 112 Minutes.

Tags: Cryogenics, Cancer, Suicide, Surgery, Rebirth, Computer, Human Experiments, Art, Advertising.

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