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Critical Care (1997)

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Werner Ernst is a young hospital resident who becomes embroiled in a legal battle between two half-sisters who are fighting over the care of their comatose father. But are they really ... See full summary »

Director:

Sidney Lumet

Writers:

Richard Dooling (novel), Steven Schwartz (screenplay)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Spader ... Dr. Werner Ernst
Kyra Sedgwick ... Felicia Potter
Helen Mirren ... Stella
Anne Bancroft ... Nun
Albert Brooks ... Dr. Butz
Jeffrey Wright ... Bed Two
Margo Martindale ... Connie Potter
Wallace Shawn ... Furnaceman
Philip Bosco ... Dr. Hofstader
Colm Feore ... Wilson
Edward Herrmann ... Robert Payne
James Lally James Lally ... Poindexter
Harvey Atkin ... Judge Fatale
Al Waxman ... Sheldon Hatchett
Hamish McEwan ... Hansen
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Storyline

Werner Ernst is a young hospital resident who becomes embroiled in a legal battle between two half-sisters who are fighting over the care of their comatose father. But are they really fighting over their father's care, or over his $10 million estate? Meanwhile, Werner must contend with his nutty supervisor, who insists that he only care for patients with full insurance. Can Werner sidestep the hospital's legal team and do what's best for the patient? Written by Martin Lewison <mlewison@utk.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

At Memorial Hospital no one ever dies... Until their insurance runs out.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and a scene of sexuality | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Australia | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 October 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cuidados Intensivos See more »

Filming Locations:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$43,380, 2 November 1997, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$141,853, 16 November 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

[first lines]
Stella: [dropping clipboard] That's six's blood gases. I'm up to oxygen 60%.
Dr. Werner Ernst: Thank you.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in By Sidney Lumet (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Quintet in G Minor, K516
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by Pinchas Zukerman and The Tokyo String Quartet
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User Reviews

 
The medical profession takes it on the chin in this good comedy, with a wonderful performance by Albert Brooks.
21 November 1999 | by Art-22See all my reviews

This film takes its place beside many comedy/dramas touching on the inadequacies of the medical profession, such as Otto Preminger's "Such Good Friends (1971)" and Arthur Hiller's "The Hospital (1971)." Though the comedy here is not as "black" as those films, which concentrated more on the incompetencies of some doctors and nurses, "Critical Care" finds its humor in the insurance-driven medical profession today. Albert Brooks is absolutely wonderful as the epitome of a doctor caring only about the bottom line. His only concern is whether or not a prospective patient has medical insurance, and his decision to keep a comatose patient with no chance of recovery alive is based solely on the fact that the insurance company pays $9,500 per week ("cold cash") if he's alive, and zilch if he dies. Conversely, an emergency patient has very little priority if he has no medical insurance. The reason to see the film is Albert Brooks, in a much different role than he usually plays.

The setup is a bit contrived, but is easily forgiven. I also enjoyed the brief roles of Wallace Shawn as the devil (called "furnaceman" in the credits) and Anne Bancroft as sort of an angel in a nun's habit.


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