Reviewed byboomaga1Vote: 9/10/10
Okay, the character of Dr. Eddie Jessup is kind of a pompous ass, andthere are a few groaner moments of, call it, self-importance.
But this movie breaks real ground.
One of my all time favorites.
And I'd like to point out that everyone is crazy about the much-toutedand notoriously-expensive hallucination sequences, ...
Of course if you've seen Russel's "Tommy," some of the over-the-topsequences will look familiar and tinged with peculiar British-isms. Andthen there's the ending - well, it's controversial, that's for sure -anticlimax or not ?
But for me the most electrifying parts are the ensemble cast acting.
In the scene where Blair Brown is trying to cope with the trauma of theevents in the isolation tank room, there's a very beautifully conceivedlong single shot through house windows. Russel needs credit especiallyfor the argument between Balaban and Haid - some of the best actingI've ever seen - character actors hardly EVER get to put this kind ofstage-acting energy on film. It stays with me still. They truly seemabsolutely furious with each other, their lines overlap, it'sabsolutely convincing.
Some of the greatest effects of this movie are simply good movie craft- when Jessup first sees the love of his life walk through the door,fantastically back-lit, and the music comes up and cross-fades into thenext scene - it's breathtaking.
It's the moments like that, and the very intro of the movie, with theslow title crawl, the deadpan lines read by Balaban, the first shots ofHurt in the tank, the eerie music ... This movie still stands out,still looks good,... and stands superior to other, more recentimaginings of internal hallucination become external.
Reviewed byfred-83Vote: 8/10/10
This is one of Ken Russell's best films. He manages to balance plot andwild visuals as never before. The acting is also first rate. I watchedit again recently I think it still holds up surprisingly well comparedto many modern sci-fi movies. The plot is intriguing, I keep thinkingthat there might be some truth to the concepts presented, and the factis that our own brains are still largely unexplored territory. Aspecial mention to the extraordinary music written by John Corigliano,and for which he was nominated for an Academy Award. It dares to beloud and violent, and complements the visuals extremely well. This is awild, original movie unlike any other.
Reviewed byTheMarquisDeSuaveVote: 8/10/10
Who'd guess that one of the finest psychedelic films wouldn't bereleased in the late 60s or early 70s but 1980! "Altered States" ranksup there with "El Topo", "2001", and "Performance" as the finest filmabout hallucinogenics. Don't expect this to be any mere pretentioustrip film geared to appeal primarily to stoners. "Altered States" is anintelligent film that shows more and more depth upon repeated viewings.It may be a head-trip movie, but you don't need to be on drugs to enjoyand appreciate this film.
This is probably Ken Russel's best film. Russel is mostly known forgaudy and over-the-top camp such as "Tommy" and "The Devils". This isone of his most surprising films because for once he keeps his visualexcess under control. Its only during the hallucinations that you'rereminded this is a Ken Russel film. The effects during these sequencesare fantastic and probably the highlight of the entire film. The actingis also first-rate if largely overwhelmed by Russel's direction and thescreenplay by Paddy Chayefsky.
The only minor complaint I have is the transformation sequence. WhenHurt turns into a gorilla, it goes from being surreal to outrightsilly. Still, this is a Ken Russel film so I guess he had to include abit of camp. Its still entertaining and not distracting enough todetract from the film's overall brilliance. (8/10)
It's the late 1960's. Just for a lark, graduate student Eddie Jessup, known for being unconventional, brilliant and slightly mad, conducts experiments with an isolation chamber, using himself as the subject. His experiences in the chamber cause him to hallucinate, much of the imagery being religious-based despite he not being a religious man. Seven years later, he is a respected full professor in the Harvard Medical School. Believing he has lost his edge and has fallen into an unwanted state of respectability, Eddie decides to resume his work with sensory deprivation, this time using hallucinogens, specifically untested ones used in mystical Mexican rituals, to enhance the experience of being in the isolation tank. After initial tests, he claims he entered an alternate physical and mental state. Although unbelieving of Eddie's claims, his colleagues Arthur Rosenberg and Mason Parrish, as well as Eddie's wife, Emily, who is in her own right a respected academic, are concerned for ...