Condition: Critical

(Final Pulse, Jerrold Freedman, USA, 1992)


When a film starts with a cute rendition of “I’ll Never Love Again” over a point-of-view shot from inside an open coffin of people crying and sniffling, one can be forgiven for expecting a rather wet, old-fashioned comedy.

But when someone suddenly bursts into the funeral parlour, killing numerous bystanders with machine gun fire and twitching mysteriously before she too dies, there’s an interesting movie developing.

Before too long, Condition: Critical also becomes a soap opera of love rekindled, a mild horror story of a gruesome epidemic, and an ethical thriller set in the milieu of under-funded hospital care.

Directed by Jerrold Freedman (Blood Sport, 1973), this is a modest telemovie, but one that keeps shifting its focus and tone in an inventive, captivating way. Denis Arndt and Mark Blum star.

© Adrian Martin June 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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