Monday, February 6, 2017

CLINICAL (2017) [Paul's Review]

This is a review written without the use of the delete key.  I’m just going for it, as fast as possible typos be damned.  Why so fast you as? Ask?  Because Clinical is slowly leaving my mind.  I mean quickly .  it’s the sort of thing that you know isn’t going to stick in your head at all, so I have to write fast.  There is an urgency here, desperate, the alternative. . .i mean, if I don’t get this all out in the next twenty minutes, the movie will be gone from my memory and then I have to sart again.  I mean “start” .  So what if the punctuation is all screwy and my jokes aren’t funny.  This isn’t a time for laughs anyway.  This is crunch time.  This is for all the marbles.  This is so that I don’t have to watch Clinical again.

Why is Clinical so forgettable?  Mainly because it is absurdly slow.  It’s slow as molasses.  Oh man, what a cliché.  That’s something I would usually cut out and rethink, but this is desperate times.  Or desperate measures.  Clichés, they’re what my mind does when I don’t force it to do anything.

Clinical begins with a giant foot stepping on a moon.  But this is like figurative or something, the moon representing what you'll remember about the movie and the foot representing your brain's own instinctual delete key.

Clinical is about a therapist (Vinessa Shaw) who is haunted by memories of a patient who killed herself.  The therapist is going to therapy to try to get right again.  But meanwhile she’s also practicing therapy on patients in her home.  One of her patients (Kevin Rahm) has had facial reconstruction surgery, and his face looks like a sack of potatoes.  He’s having trouble adjusting, and so the therapist sets about trying to restore his memories of his disfiguring car accident.  The way she gets him to remember is by telling him to breathe and then to tell the story.  She’s supposed to be a really good therapist, "the BEST at this stuff" and you can tell because she is into really cutting edge therapy techniques, like asking: “and how did that make you feel?” and saying stuff like “you have to confront it.” 
At one point she tells a girl who is in an ongoing domestic abuse situation to confront her rapist-father.  This turns out to be the wrong move.  It also seems like the kind of thing that you might lose your medical license for, but what am I, some kind of . . .  I trailed off there.  Not really sure where I was going and ended up nowhere.  But no delete key!  Just gotta push through. 
Anyway, this therapist who is going to therapy and also therapizing a bunch of clients out of her home starts seeing visions of her former patient.  And then we realize that maybe it IS her former patient since that girl, played by India Eisley of figure-skater-caught-in-a-chandelier fame, didn’t die when she cut her jugular.  This is foreshadowing of a sort, since later on a character has his throat slit, artery pumping out blood, and he simply claps one of his mitts on it and he’s fine! 

The giant cosmic foot-delete key of my mind just wants to stop here, but I have to go on.  Just put a hand over the severed artery, Paul.

Ok, so in the end there’s a plot twist and the two stories (facial reconstruction dude and suicidal girl who didn’t actually manage to kill herself because brains don’t need blood in this movie) finally come together.  To its credit, it isn’t entirely predictable.  But not to its credit. . . what’s the word for that?  But to its detriment, the reason why you won’t see it coming is that it depends on the villain executing perfectly a plan that has like, a 2% chance of success and a 98% chance of self-inflicted death, from the outset.

Now what?  What else do I have to say?  I’m starting to forget the film already.  Oh yeah!  This is directed by Alistair Legrand, who also directed The Diabolical.  It’s hard to say which is the better of these two efforts.  The Diabolical was silly, but there was also some action.  Clinical was “smarter,” but it was inexcusably long and slow.  I'd probably go with Clinical if pressed because: better acting and a satisfyingly gory final encounter.  Also, no time travel at all!

There are also some similarities between The Diabolical and Clinical that probably aren't worth pointing out, but I noticed them so in they go.  Like, in both movies are seemingly identical backyard romantic dinners with wine.  No idea if Legrand is single or married or whatever, but if I were his significant other, and he said he had something special planned at his place, I'd probably know to bring a sweater (or bug spray, depending on the season). 

The special effects are gruesome, which is good, except that somehow the gore doesn’t quite match the lackadaisical pacing and “cerebral” mood of the film.  Still, there’s a corkscrew death that definitely outscrews that other corkscrewing we saw in Hush. 
Ok.  I think I’ve said enough that maybe I can now let Clinical go to wherever completely forgettable movies go.  In the end, there’s just way too many therapy sessions.  The therapist therapizes her patients (including one that is just sort of in the movie to, like, establish that she has more than one patient or something).  Her therapist therapizes her.   The mental institution has its own therapist who therapizes some of the therapist’s patients and then the therapist herself.  And at the end of the movie, the patient therapizes the therapist!  I’d say three-quarters of the film is therapy.  And four-quarters of the therapy are boring.  It’s so boring that the therapist writes “BORED” in her session notes and then doodles this buxomy centaur thing.

Questions for Joe:

1.  I feel like the titanic moon-stomping foot monster storyline wasn't fully wrapped up.  What do you think happened to it?

JD: You know that scene in the old action movie Face/Off where Nic Cage slowly says the words "!" while mock pulling his face off with his hand? Clinical is like a 2 hour version of that .gif, and I'm pretty sure every single thing that happens references the fact that someone's going to get their face ripped off. Or maybe that's just all I can think about after watching Clinical.

2.  Which character was more unnecessary, the exercise buddy, the random anxious patient, or the cop boyfriend with aspiring-actor facial scruff?  

JD: You forgot the sanctimonious  mentor! But I'll go with random anxious patient, because all the others were psycho-fodder.

3.  What did you learn about therapy from this movie that you didn't know before?

JD: Therapists aren't nearly as surprised as they seem when I ask them for PCP.

4.   Do you remember the intricacies of the plot?  When, if at all, did you start to lose the details?

JD: It really seemed like she was making progress with her patient before she flipped out and stabbed her boyfriend in the head. I think that may have been when things stopped making sense. But that's also when things started getting interesting!

5.  Do you think I've lost face for writing such a sloppy review?  

JD: You've certainly regressed and need to try some drugs. See, after watching Clinical, anyone can sound like a therapist!

No comments:

Post a Comment