Extreme Measures

* * * 1/2*

Extreme Measures is a rather literate, heart-pounding thriller about ethics and medicine. Hugh Grant stars as Dr. Guy Luthan, a physician in a New York ER. One night, a mysterious homeless man wanders naked into the ER, with even more mysterious and perplexing symptoms. Before expiring, the man mutters a name and the phrase "Triphase". Dr. Luthan orders an autopsy and begins digging around for clues. Yet, somehow the body disappears and threats against Guy's career and his life move from implied to all-too-real. In his first action thriller, Hugh Grant successfully shrugs off the awkward, stuttering, tic-infested persona that has haunted him since Four Weddings and a Funeral. The film manages to ratchet up the tension with each passing minute, along with delivering some expected and some unexpected twists. At the heart of the film is a moral dilemma. Gene Hackman, as Dr. Lawrence Myrick, a brilliant neurologist, isn't strictly evil as the bad guy...he's left to wander the grey boundaries. The ultimate confrontation between the two doctors is a violently articulate struggle of ethics. Unfortunately, although Extreme Measures takes some brave and daring turns, it doesn't have the courage to stay the course. The film is marred by an abrupt deus-ex-machina that settles everything a bit too pat. The meaty means of this film certainly don't justify this end. But that aside, Extreme Measures remains a film that will not only quicken your pulse, but leave you thinking as you leave the theater.

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