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(1996) (Ray Liotta, Linda Fiorentiono) (R)

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A medical examiner experiments with a process that allows him to experience the last thoughts and emotions of murder victims -- including those of his wife.
David Krane (RAY LIOTTA) is a medical examiner who recently lost his wife to a brutal murder -- and was accused of doing the deed. Let off because of a technicality, heís tried to solve the case ever since. When he comes across a scientist, Martha Briggs (LINDA FIORENTINO), who is experimenting with the transference of memories from animal to animal, David gets an idea. Heíll inject her special serum mixed with the victimís brain fluid (which is taken during an autopsy) and experience what the murder victims did at the time of their death. What makes this intriguing to him is that a recent murder scene had a piece of evidence that matched one from his wifeís murder. He figures if he sees who murdered the most recent victims, heíll be able to peg his wifeís murderer. Of course, he also has to inject himself with his wifeís fluid and experiences more violent flashbacks. Detectives Don Bresler (PETER COYOTE) and Stewart Gleick (CHRISTOPHER McDONALD) are not impressed with his findings that include a suspect, Eddie Dutton (KIM COATES). It turns out Dutton was involved with both sets of murders, but as David gets closer to the truth danger builds as Dutton, Bresler and Gleick all become suspects in Davidís mind.
None of the cast are particular draws to kids, but if they like murder mystery plots interweaved with a slight sci-fi story theyíll want to see this one.
For strong violence, language and nudity.
  • RAY LIOTTA plays the man with a past of alcohol and domestic problems who will do anything to figure out who killed his wife.
  • LINDA FIORENTINO plays the somewhat meek scientist who is horrified to find out that David has used her serum without her knowledge. From then on, concerned with Davidís health, she wonít leave his side.
  • PETER COYOTE plays the detective who turns out not to be such a nice guy.


    OUR TAKE: 6 out of 10
    The plot of this movie plays on an intriguing idea: What if you could experience the thoughts and feelings of other people, especially those whoíve been murdered? The answer would depend on whether youíd seen "BrainstormĒ (Christopher Walken, Natalie Wood) or "Strange Days" (Ralph Fiennes), movies that had similar plots revolving around dead peopleís last thoughts. This one is similar in that a person tries to solve a murder by injecting the deceasedís memories into themselves and the fact that David experiences flashbacks from all of the different people. The performances are good but not spectacular and the plot does keep you wondering who the real murderer is. We give this one a 6 out of 10.
    This is a very violent and bloody film. Several murders are seen repeatedly in flashback and will be very disturbing to both children and adults. There's extreme profanity and nearly everyone has a bad attitude toward David. And he's not such a saint himself, having had alcohol and violence problems in his past. Read through the category listings before deciding whether this movie is appropriate for your kids -- or yourself.

  • People have wine and mixed drinks at a dinner/speech and later a reception.
  • Itís said that David had a history of alcohol abuse. In a flashback scene we see him arriving back at home drunk (and throwing a large planter through a window after his wife has locked him out) and arriving home drunk the night his wife was murdered.
  • Thereís a flashback scene where cops are seen drinking beer.
  • Nearly all of the memories/flashbacks that David experiences show scenes of extreme violence with prolific amounts of blood being expelled from bodies or pooling around already dead people. For details of the blood letting, see "Violence."
  • Several times David is seen inserting a needle into his arm (no blood is seen -- but we listed it for those who might be squeamish about such things).
  • David gets a bloody nose during one of his flashbacks.
  • As suspected, the killers have both.
  • David goes into the cold storage evidence room and takes a vial of his wifeís brain fluid without permission and later takes that of other murder victims.
  • Bresler continues to shoot Dutton after heís dropped his knife and no longer poses a threat to anyone (in a church where he was holding a child at knife point).
  • David finds out that his wife had an affair and was pregnant.
  • It turns out Bresler was the guy who blew up the lab, slept with Davidís wife and then killed her.
  • There are many memories/flashbacks of murders and other violent acts. These are seen repeatedly in vivid detail and will be both scary and disturbing to kids (and adults). To heighten the effect, many of the scenes are shot/edited in a very disorienting fashion. For complete details, see "Violence."
  • David has a nightmare where he walks in on his wifeís autopsy. As they prepare to cut open her head, her eyes open and she screams.
  • David has a nightmare where Gleick walks in, raises his gun and shoots David dead.
  • Thereís a big final confrontation between Bresler and David where they end up fighting while a fire (that Bresler set) builds in intensity. David leaves and returns twice to the room and gets stuck as the fire gets out of control. For kids who donít like the thoughts of fires, they wonít like this one (but itís tame compared to the other scenes/content in the movie).
  • Guns: Used in many of the murder scenes. For details, see "Violence."
  • Fireplace poker: Used to kill David's wife.
  • Knife: Used by Dutton to threaten a boy in a church.
  • Bomb: Used to blow up Marthaís lab and most of the floor it was on.
  • Phrases: "Fag," and "Shut up."
  • Injecting oneself with untested substances (or any substances for that matter).
  • Dutton, as a child, is seen beating a dog to death with a pipe.
  • None.
  • Many of the memories/flashbacks that we see are accompanied by a good amount of scary and/or suspenseful music.
  • None.
  • 41 "f" words (3 used sexually, 1 with the prefix "mother"), 6 "s" words, 5 "ass" words, 2 SOB's, 1 each of "hell," "damn," and a slang term for male genitals ("pr*ck"), and 2 uses of "God," and 1 use each of "Jesus," "Jesus Christ," and "Oh my God," as exclamations.
  • Full male frontal nudity: A nude body is seen from a distance on an autopsy table.
  • David injects himself with Duttonís brain fluid and experiences quick flashes of a sexual scene between Dutton and another woman. Thereís no nudity or sexual movement, but in a later flashback thereís a quick, one second shot of a nude woman.
  • Bresler smokes cigars in several scenes.
  • Dutton is seen smoking cigarettes.
  • Davidís wife, the mother of his two children, was killed. And he then lost custody of the kids due to being charged with the murder. This may give kids some weird or worrisome thoughts.
  • Davidís two girls visit him in the hospital (where he ends up after taking too many dangerous injections) and they worry that heís going to leave them "just like mommy did."
  • Whether memories can be transferred from one person to another.
  • Thereís talk of a cop who attempted suicide (but who really was shot by another cop).
  • The movie opens as police and David arrive at a convenience store murder scene. Many people have been shot and thereís blood everywhere -- on the victims, the floor and the ceiling.
  • Itís said that Davidís wife was killed by someone "crushing her skull in."
  • David experiences and "sees" his wifeís murder. Sheís attacked when she enters the room and is struck on the head. As a thunderstorm rages outside, sheís strangled by the assailant and a little blood comes from her mouth.
  • David experiences the convenience store murders from the point of view of a woman in the store. Several people are shot (with blood spraying out from their bodies) and then the woman is shot in the shoulder. Another man is shot and killed and then the killer walks up to the wounded woman and aims his gun right into her face (and right at us, seeing what sheís seeing). He then pulls the trigger and a tremendous amount of blood gushes out.
  • David has brief flashbacks from the above murders.
  • David goes looking for Eddie Dutton, the man he saw in the flashbacks. He encounters Dutton at the elevator door and then chases him out of the building. Dutton shoots his handgun at David as they race down the streets. As they enter an intersection, both Dutton and David are nearly run over by cars (both ending up rolling over the hoods of cars). David then trails the guy down an alley where Dutton jumps out, knocks David down and kicks him before fleeing from the alley.
  • David chases Dutton into a church where Dutton then grabs a boy and holds a knife to his throat. He threatens to slice the kid open as David talks to him and heavily armed police arrive. Bresler arrives and shoots Dutton in the arm and then many more times in the chest killing him (with lots of blood).
  • David has a hallucination where Dutton sits up on the autopsy table, gun in hand, and fires it at David.
  • David experiences his wifeís murder again, this time in much more detail and from the perspective of the killer. The assailant is seen bashing her head against a fireplace mantle. In real time, Martha has entered the room during Davidís flashback. He sees her (and being in the killerís mind) grabs Martha and begins strangling her. Eventually the flashback stops and he stops.
  • David then sees scenes from Duttonís childhood where heís abused by his father. Moments later, Duttonís seen beating a dog to death with a pole.
  • David and Gleick (the detective whoís sure David killed his wife) almost get into a fight but Bresler breaks it up.
  • David has flashes of Dutton being beaten by police while in custody and then more flashes of bloody murder scenes.
  • Thereís a flashback scene of David showing up to his house drunk (the night when his wife was murdered) and he slugs Gleick.
  • David has a nightmare where Gleick walks in, raises his gun and shoots David dead.
  • A janitor is killed as a rigged bomb explodes and Marthaís lab and most of the floor it was on is destroyed.
  • David injects the fluid from a cop who attempted suicide and is believed (at the time) to be the man who had an affair with his wife. David then "sees" this cop and Bresler showing up in a warehouse. Bresler pulls his gun and shoots several Duttonís buddies, they return machine gun fire, and then Bresler and the cop kill the rest of the guys, the last one using a shotgun.
  • David then sees Bresler threatening the other cop and shooting him under the chin (to make it look like a suicide attempt) and then lots of blood splattering around the room.
  • Bresler shows up at Davidís and finds David on the floor (zapped from a flashback) and Martha taped in a chair (David taped her there to keep her from preventing his latest injection). Bresler, being the guilty party, pours glue throughout the room and then lights it on fire.
  • Bresler and David then fight as the fire grows in intensity. David ends up beating Bresler badly until heís a bloody pulp. David then drags Bresler out of the burning building as it explodes.

  • Reviewed August 7, 1996

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