Fashions and special effects might be the tell-tale item that makes you recognize Coma is a film from years past. However, the storyline, thrills, and acting are top notch enough to make you forget those items and get caught up in the suspense.
Susan Wheeler (Genevieve Bujold) and Mark Bellows (Michael Douglas) is not only a couple but they’re residents at Boston General Hospital. Mark is jostling for the position of chief resident and looks like he’s going to achieve it.
Susan is under a large amount of stress both in her relationship with Mark, but her best friend Nancy (Lois Chiles) goes in for a routine surgery that tragically ends with her in a coma. Susan becomes obsessed with finding out how her young, healthy friend winds up in such dire condition from a routine surgery.
Even more so when Nancy is spirited away to a mysterious facility as well as another seemingly healthy patient (a young but mustachioed Tom Selleck) who also ends up in a coma.
Susan suspects the surly anesthesiology head Dr. George (Rip Torn) but needs substantial proof before taking it to chief of surgery Dr. Harris (Richard Widmark). She soon finds that her life is in danger as she uncovers a murderous conspiracy and her life is in danger, but who can she trust?
Coma springs from the talented medical pen of Robin Cook. I keep mistakenly thinking that director Michael Crichton wrote the original novel and I’d bet that I’m not the only one.
Crichton did write the screenplay as well as serving as director. Crichton would adapt his own novel into one of my favorites of his directorial works, the Great Train Robbery in the following year (1979). Coma has actually aged rather well in my opinion.
The only real tells that it’s a film from 1978 are some of the fashions, architecture, and some of the special effects. It is easy to forget about those detriments as you get caught up in the thrilling storyline. Maybe made even more pertinent because medical issues are still being argued today.
Coma is presented in a 1080p high definition transfer (1.85:1). Special features are sadly only the 2 minute theatrical trailer.
I thought that Coma was going to be the victim of showing its age. I started to focus on some of that but I was surprised to find myself being pulled into the story (it had been a while since I’ve seen it).
Some of the dialogue and situations even echo medical issues that are still being argued today which gives the film a strange currency.
Not to mention some good acting. I guess it also gave me a greater appreciation for Michael Crichton the director since he’s more remembered as the author who died much too soon. Coma is a blast from the past that hasn’t lost its power.
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