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Paul Reisner, a young doctor, becomes a researcher in a prestigious medical institute. He feels he has a chance to be part of a movement of unending progress in science and civilization. Then he begins to discover the dark side of the institute, which foreshadows the dark side of the 20th century.Written by
This is one of those little films that pack in a lot of information but in such a subtle manner that you feel you're watching life, not a movie.
Clive Owen (in what I still think is his best performance to date) plays a rising young Jewish doctor who is thrilled to be under the tutelage of one of Britain's greatest doctors. It is the turn of the 19th to 20th century, and the fields of science are astounding the populace. It's an exciting time to be living and witnessing changes that will surely better society. But there is a negative element to science when responsibility to humanity is erased. Owen discovers things about his mentor that he finds truly disheartening, and he feels an obligation to reveal the man's 'crimes' to society.
The film has much to say about the role of science and technology verses humanity, as well as how humanity is defined. There are still millions of people today who will look on immigrants or people of different races or classes as lesser human beings (or in some cases, not human at all!). In 100 years, this film shows us that despite the benefits of technology, we as a people are no more enlightened, and that is because the human element has often been tossed aside. This film is never preachy though. All the acting is superb, and the art direction and cinematography match those of any of the best period films made in the past decade. This is a thoughtful, intelligent and masterful work.
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