In this captivating thriller, five medical students (played by Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin, Julia Roberts, and Oliver Platt) decide to attempt having an NDE (near death experience) to see whatâ€™s there on the other side. Four of them go under, one by one, in a secret place while the others see to their timely resuscitation. As they return from the flatline (newly brain dead condition), they find their perception mysteriously altered, haunted by entities not in their present lives before they died. One of them (who else but Sutherland) has a life-threatening situation after his revival and he must sink beneath the flatline once more to sort things out. But will he able to return this time?
The story is really riveting, and so is everything else about Flatliners: the light and sound effects (really impressive), transitions of scenes, acting, and the editing, all near perfect. It is a believable case for people from different belief and moral backgroundsâ€”Bacon plays a good-natured atheist and Baldwin a sexual pervert while Roberts appears as a skeptic inclined a little toward the spiritual side. Death means different things to this group working together; though you are left wondering what the goofy Randy Steckle (Oliver Platt) thinks, if at all, aside from hanging out with his buddies and videotaping stuff.
The fact that Flatliners involves the issue of how death defines our ethics, especially the moral responsibility for acts in oneâ€™s childhood, makes it more than just another thriller. There is a lesson to learn and a discussion to bring to your own table. So do dare to go with the Flatliners!