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Altered States (1980)
Great Material, Artistically Handled
If you are a thinker now, or grew up looking up at the stars and trying to figure out how the universe could just go on and on forever, this film is for you.
If you like boundaries, and the familiar you will not understand why this film was made, or why this film was made the way it was.
Chayefsky's material is brilliant, and challenging. Russell's approach is startling; more like abstract expressionism than any kind of realism. The performances, especially by Blair Brown and William Hurt are raw and completely authentic.
From start to finish, this film is fascinating, original and consistently realized.