Coma (1978) / Thriller-Mystery
MPAA Rated: PG for nudity and violence definitely would be PG-13 today)
Running time: 113 min.
Cast: Genevieve Bujold, Michael Douglas, Richard Widmark, Elizabeth Ashley, Rip Torn, Lois Chiles, Tom Selleck, Joanna Kerns, Ed Harris (cameo)
Director: Michael Crichton
Screenplay: Michael Crichton (based on the book by Robin Cook)
Review published January 28, 1997
Bujold (The House of Yes, Eye of the Beholder) plays a young doctor who begins to suspect something is amiss in the hospital she works at when her best friend falls into a coma after undergoing an abortion. After further digging into the matter, she is startled to discover the high rate of patients who go into comas that are otherwise healthy, and they have one thing in common: they were all operated on in OR 8. As she gets closer to the truth the closer she also appears to get into more and more danger, as there are things some very powerful people will kill to keep under wraps.
Sci-fi guru Michael Crichton (Westworld, Looker) directs for the first time in over five years in this intriguing, but clichéd medical thriller, based on the bestseller by Robin Cook. Bujold's terrific performance helps keep the tension high, even when it's obvious where things are going, and a young Michael Douglas (The Star Chamber, Romancing the Stone) bolsters the interest with a good performance of his own. Crichton's directorial style is a bit overambitious, with inordinate amounts of ominous musical scoring during scenes which aren't particularly frightening.
Coma could have been better, but there's enough intelligence in the main idea, as well as some genuine chills, to make it worthwhile entertainment.
©1997 Vince Leo