Critical Care

Bomb Rating: 

I don't need director Sidney ("Night Falls on Manhattan") Lumet to tell me that modern health care is one big cesspool of moral turpitude. Nor do I need him to cast every imaginable situation in the terms of some fabricated moral dilemma, as he seems wont to do in virtually every film he's ever made.

The solution to the problem in "Critical Care" is fairly simple. The old guy who's being kept alive by machines should be put out of his misery. Clear and simple. The fact that there's even a film about this subject is due to the two-faced, right-wing idiots who spew endless drivel about the rights of the individual, then get all upset when somebody decides to mercifully end his or her own life. As a result, I have to sit through films that "portray" dilemmas that shouldn't even exist.

I'll at least give credit to Lumet for portraying the religious sister in the battle for her father's fortune, Connie Potter (Margo Martindale), as a fat, false prophet who'd probably as soon wipe her ass with the bible as quote passages from it if the money were right. Connie wants to keep dad alive while the other sister, Felicia (Kyra Sedgwick), wants him put down. Dr. Werner Ernst (James Spader) is the man caught in the middle.

Through Ernst's absent-minded, elderly mentor, Dr. Butz (Albert Brooks), Lumet then spoon-feeds us the film's metaphorical meaning. Like the elderly patient, Butz, and our current health care system itself, this film needs to be put to sleep.

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