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 <email@example.com>
When the film was shown in the UK it was advertised as being in "Dynamic Expanding Frame", which meant that, although much of the film was in the conventional 35mm format, for the subjective camera scenes of people using the helmet, the image would suddenly expand into a huge 70mm wide-screen aspect ratio. See more »
When Lillian records her death, her soul's experience is recorded as it separated from her physical body would be disconnected from the device making the recording. It would require the theory that the soul still communicates with the dead body thru its entire journey elsewhere. 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 »
I really love these old fashioned, deliberately slower, type of sci-fi movies, that puts its emphasis on the science and takes a realistic approach with its story, no matter how ridicules it all often can get. These type of movies mostly got done successfully in the '70's and this movie actually also has '70's style written all over it. Yet it is as if this movie is holding back, which really prevents this movie from being a classic within its genre, even though all of the right ingredients and potential seemed to be there.
So you could call "Brainstorm" a bit of a disappointment but by doing so you are not doing the movie enough justice and you are not giving it the credit it still deserves. I really still liked it, despite all of its flaws, though some of those flaws can also be brought back to the difficulties of production at the time.
Biggest 'inconvinience' for this movie of course was the sudden and tragic death of key actress Natalie Wood. It almost caused this movie to be stopped down completely but with some changes and rewrites the movie still got finished and released, just not in the way it originally got intended. It must be the reason why the movie ends so abruptly and the story leaves far more questions than answers.
The movie does really have a great concept of the invention of a device that can recored people's experiences and feelings and that can be played back by a different person that will feel the exact same feelings, smells and tastes. A sort of virtual reality, with the exception of that there is actually nothing virtual about the reality. The possibilities with this device are endless and sort of a shame that now almost 30 years later we don't have anything remotely close yet. I said that the possibilities are endless, yet the movie is doing far too little with it. It deliberately restrains itself it seems.
The movie just never reaches full potential, though it is obvious that somewhere deep down everything there is still a great movie to be found. But it remains a fact that the movie never reaches its full potential with its story. The story fails to intrigue and also fails with other things, such as its tension. Quite frankly I had no idea what was all happening toward the end and what the big 'conflict' that needed to be resolved was and how it got done exactly. There is a 'villainoush' plot in the movie that just never seemed that evil- or got explained good enough.
The movie got directed by special effect expert Douglas Trumbull. So visually this movie really doesn't disappoint and to be frank I think that it are still mostly the visuals and its effects that safe this movie and still make it a more than good watch.
But you also have to give credit to Christopher Walken of course, who basically never fails to put down a great performance and character. I really liked most of the acting in this movie and it seemed to be a very well cast one, with some truly great characters in it, that all interact really great and convincingly together.
The movie also features an early James Horner musical score. Funny thing about Horner musical scores is that basically it doesn't matter if it's anything from the '80's, 90's, 2000's or this decade, the all have the same sound and feature the same motifs. It's not big secret Horner often recycles his most early scores and the score of this movie also got heavily recycled by himself in many later movies. Still I'm sure his fans can appreciate his score for this movie and I'm also really not hateful toward it.
Really not as great as this movie potentially could and perhaps also should had been but nevertheless it remains still a good 'realistic' science-fiction movie to watch.
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