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Anna Maria Monticelli
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An eccentric scientist working for a large drug company is working on a research project in the Amazon jungle. He sends for a research assistant and a gas chromatograph because he's close to a cure for cancer. When the assistant turns out to be a "mere woman," he rejects her help. Meanwhile the bulldozers get closer to the area in which they are conducting research, and they eventually learn to work together, and begin falling in love.Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
While promoting the movie on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962), Sean Connery stated that he would start each day playing a round of golf. He carried his own club and played at such a pace that the younger cast and crew members playing with him could not keep up. See more »
Dr. Bronx' harness appears on her before she dons it. See more »
Most people dedicate their time reviewing movies that have been deemed "classic" or "great"...what about the rest of them? True, MEDICINE MAN is not "great", but it gets away with being mildly entertaining. The film follows the exploits of Dr. Rae Crane (Lorraine Bracco) as she descends into the rain forests of Brazil. Her job is to assist and evaluate the mysterious Dr. Campbell (Sean Connery) whose backing is close to being pulled. Everything is fairly lighthearted, until Campbell reveals that he has discovered the cure for cancer. The main tension is that he cannot reproduce it - something that the film spends the majority of the running time dealing with. Eventually, there is a crisis, a climax, etc...
The sad thing is that this should have been a better film. Everything is there: John McTiernan, an under-rated director, who is at home with filming the jungle (see PREDATOR). Sean Connery gives one of his more spirited performances here, he seems to be having fun with the role. The rich photography, by Donald McAlpine, makes MEDICINE MAN a wonderful film to look at. The story is decent, using semi-factual accounts as the basis for the narrative. All this plus one of Jerry Goldsmith's best scores of the 90's...the music simply shimmers and sways like a soft wind through the treetops. So...
Why doesn't this film work? One problem is that you simply do not care about any of the characters (excepting Connery). Lorraine Bracco's character is abrasive, but the failure of her role is due more to the writing than the acting. Sean Connery's role is very well developed; the screenwriters seem to have focused more on the haunted and quirky Robert Campbell, and nobody else. Yes, Bracco's character is annoying and grating and irritating and whines too much, etc., but if it were a stronger character we could have forgiven her for these qualities. Also, the narrative arc of the story seems a bit clipped near the end, what with that whole "twenty-four hours" to find the cure for cancer thing. The action during the finale seems forced and is not really reinforced during the film proper. We see smoke off in the distance once or twice, but there is very little urgency in these scenes. Besides Goldsmith's looming and percussive synth patterns, I would not have known there was a threat at all.
Anyway, MEDICINE MAN just does not come together in a satisfying way. It is however an entertaining film and a must see for Connery fanatics. It is one of those films that open, makes a little money, then is forgotten. These are the films I'm interested in and will continue to review. 6/10
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