Brilliant researchers Lillian Reynolds and Michael Brace have developed a system of recording and playing back actual experiences of people. Once the capability of tapping into "higher brain functions" is added in, and you can literally jump into someone else's head and play back recordings of what he or she was thinking, feeling, seeing, etc., at the time of the recording, the applications for the project quickly spiral out of control. While Michael Brace uses the system to become close again to Karen Brace, his estranged wife who also works on the project, others start abusing it for intense sexual experiences and other logical but morally questionable purposes. The government tries to kick Michael and Lillian off the project once the vast military potential of the technology is discovered. It soon becomes obvious that the government is interested in more than just missile guidance systems. The lab starts producing mind torture recordings and other psychosis inducing material. When ...Written by
Eric van bezooijen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To prepare for the film, Douglas Trumbull took most of the key cast and crew up to the Esalen Institute, an experimental research facility in Northern California known for its new-age classes and workshops. See more »
The boxes containing the water activated foam were cut in advance at the top to increase the effect of them rupturing when they collided with the wall at the portable computer factory. Furthermore, why would a microcomputer factory be transporting cases full of water activated foam so close to the assembly line. See more »
After the final credit has rolled, 'TO NATALIE' appears for a couple seconds See more »
In the psychotic episode sequence when Michael's (Christopher Walken) son Chris (Jason Lively) wears the headset, there's a slight difference between the 70mm version and 35mm version. In the 70mm version of Chris' hallucination when Michael turns on a lever sending presumably an electrical current to Chris' head, the camera cuts to and remains on a shot of a circular device with electricity running through it as we hear Michael say 'Now you're gonna find out it's mine!'. In the 35mm version, the shot arrangement is the same except that it cuts back to a close up of Michael saying the line 'Now you're gonna find out it's mine!'. See more »
Yes, "Brainstorm" is marred by uneven acting and the death of its lead actress, Natalie Wood, under circumstances that to this day are still the stuff of speculation.
Yes, Louise Fletcher's death scene is overacted to the point of parody.
Yes, it's not easy to accept Christoper Walken in a role of a semi-normal person.
Yes, "Brainstorm" was only Douglas Trumbull's second film as a director, and some might argue that it was little better than "Silent Running."
But, even despite all of that, the story is incredibly engaging, the visuals are striking (what else would you expect from the wizard responsible for "2001" and "Blade Runner"?), James Horner's music is absolutely divine, and the film is quite enjoyable.
Also, in its favor, a great deal of the credit (or blame, as many would say) for the final result lies squarely with MGM/UA. Still dealing with United Artists' financial baggage after their merger, the company all but took the film away from Trumbull after Wood's death--not to mention the studio's lack of support for Trumbull's plan to film the "helmet" sequences in his ultra-realistic Showscan process.
So, in point, I highly recommend this movie, but just be aware of what you're getting into...
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