Sunday, August 23, 2009

Film Review: Pathology (2008)

Review by: By Chris Ward

Release Date: April 18th Limited Release

Director: Marc Schölermann
Writers (WGA): Mark Neveldine (written by) & Brian Taylor (written by)

'Pathology' is an interesting little thriller. On the one hand it tries (and fails) to deliver a sense of morality to its preceding, a la 'Saw', but it just doesn't have that movie's depth or characters that you really care about. On the other hand, it does kill (!) 90 minutes and deliver a satisfactory ending.

The plot (or lack of) centres around brilliant graduate student Ted Grey (Milo Ventimiglia), a beacon of respectability and high moral values, who joins a team of fellow pathologists that have God-like egos. The main protagonist, Jake (Michael Weston), dares Ted to join 'The Game' - where the person being dared has to kill at random and the rest of the team have to use their skills to show how the deed was done. Will the seemingly incorruptible Ted take up the challenge of getting one over on his fellow interns?

All sounds good, but the main problem with this movie is that it all seems to happen very quickly. On day one, Ted starts his new job. By the end of day two, he's smoking crack, getting drunk out of his mind and is getting it on with Jake's girl. The sense of a morally sound man losing his decency and spiraling out of control is lost and therefore it's hard to sympathize with the character of Ted. That is until his fiance shows up, in the shape of butter-wouldn't-melt junior lawyer Gwen. It is only then that we see Ted start to really struggle with his conscience.
The performances are solid. Milo Ventimiglia comes across as a strong leading actor, whilst Michael Watson gives a flamboyant yet unnerving performance as the detestable Jake.

The autopsy scenes are gratuitously graphic and realistic (although I'm sure that during the second-to-last autopsy, the length of the body keeps changing as the camera moves around it - oh well) as are the very quick sex scenes. It is a shame that there was a real lack of character development and the fact that the movie relies on a high level of viewer expectancy - we are supposed to accept that there is a chamber below the hospital that nobody ever visits, yet the entrance is right next to the loading bay, and silly things like that - as there was a real potential for an edgy 'Saw'-esque thriller.


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