In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb darkest hour ver3

Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour stands apart from more routine historical dramas.

Thumb man who invented christmas

The Man Who Invented Christmas

Not particularly keen on nuance or subtlety, this is a film in which everything, especially Stevens’ decidedly manic take on Dickens, is pitched as broadly…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives

Reviews

Medicine Man

  |  

All of the elements are here for a movie I would probably enjoy very much, but somehow they never come together. "Medicine Man," which is shot on location in the rain forests of the Amazon, has the great, grizzled Sean Connery as its star, doing research countless miles up an anonymous river with Lorraine Bracco, a tough-talking scientist from the Bronx. If this had been some dumb adventure movie, it would probably have been terrific. Alas, it is a "relationship" movie, told along lines of timeworn weariness, and since that is not bad enough, it also throws in several Serious Issues for the characters to discuss.

Advertisement

Connery, first seen wearing an Indian headdress while thoroughly marinated in an intoxicating jungle potion, is an eccentric Scotsman who has been doing research by himself for so long that he has almost forgotten what pajamas look like. Bracco reminds him of them, and other things.

She's the head of the organization that is financing him, and responds to his call for a research assistant because she wants to find out what he's doing out there in the jungle.

It goes, I think, almost without saying that Connery will resent a "girl" turning up as his helper, that Bracco will be a liberated woman, that they will fight, that together they will overcome great odds, and that eventually they will find themselves in each other's arms. It also goes without saying that there will be a lot of snakes and ants in the jungle (and one mosquito - announced with a loud buzz on the soundtrack).

The ads for the movie have already revealed the story line (which, to be fair, is so elementary, it can be summarized in a sentence). Connery has found the cure for cancer, but the mercenary villains who are burning and bulldozing the rain forest will soon destroy the only place on earth where the ingredients for his rare cancer drug can exist. The plot is thickened because once having concocted a miraculous overnight anti-cancer serum, Connery cannot repeat his experiment. His failure has him stumped, and Bracco, too, although not the audience, which is able to figure out what he's doing wrong because of two clues that are as subtle as blows to the head.

There are some beautiful moments in "Medicine Man." I enjoyed the freedom of the rope-and-pulley arrangement by which Connery is able to journey to the treetops. And the drollery of his dialogue, although it is interrupted by the screenwriter's bizarre ideas of how Bracco should talk ("No boat! No boat!" she shouts at one juncture, when Connery wants to send her home). The movie also has a perfect closing line ("Unbutton your shirt"), although it is typical of the filmmakers that they fail to recognize it as the closing line and tack on a cornball conclusion.

Advertisement

Popular Blog Posts

Why I Stopped Watching Woody Allen Movies

Stop watching movies made by assholes. It'll be OK.

Netflix's Marvel Spin-off "The Punisher" is a Lightweight

A review of Netflix's new Marvel series, "The Punisher."

“Call of Duty” and “Wolfenstein” Redefine the Modern WWII Game

A review of two of the biggest games of 2017, a pair that use World War II in very different ways.

60 Minutes on: "Wonder Woman"

One of the best superhero films, in large part because the title character sincerely believes in values larger than a...

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus