Monday, October 31, 2016

Sci Fi Top 100, #72: "Seconds" (1966)

Movie Stats:
Released 1966 (France)
American, in English
Director - John Frankenheimer
Stars - Rock Hudson, John Randolph, Salome Jens

Plot Summary:
Middle-aged banker Arthur Hamilton (Randolph) is given the opportunity to start over with a new identity, but that opportunity comes with a price. Hudson co-stars as Hamilton in his new identity, Antiochus Wilson, and Jens as Nora Marcus, Wilson’s love interest.

Minor gore; full female nudity; brief male nudity (butt only); non-graphic rape.

Bad Stuff:
It’s a little slow.

I didn’t like the soundtrack, especially in the beginning, which sounded like a 1930s horror flick. It was over-the-top.

I’m having trouble expressing how I felt about the bacchanalia scene. It was certainly weird and could be construed as out of context with the rest of the film, although I do think it fit. Still, I didn’t like it. I think my problem is that it was both too long and too repetitive.

Good Stuff:
I loved the concept, and was particularly entertained by the notion that the “start over with a new life” company was essentially a pyramid scheme, with the same kind of false promises.

Randolph and Hudson were both very good.

I enjoyed the exploration of a midlife crisis, and the related pursuit of finding meaning in one’s life.

The Verdict:
This is not an uplifting film. It’s pretty unrelentingly dark, and the ending is grim. However, I liked it. I didn’t know much about it going in - I decided not to read anything more than the brief IMDB synopsis - and I’d never heard of it before, so it was a rare moment of getting an almost completely pure take on a movie. While I found the beginning in particular slow, I soon warmed up to watching the story unfold. I don’t have many serious complaints about it. It’s a really good story told in an interesting way, with solid cinematography and great performances. It will give you something to think about, and I believe that’s the hallmark of a good sci fi film.

I give it 4 stars.


Patricia said...

I have also not heard of this movie, though with the 1966 release, that seems reasonable. The new identity name Antiochus Wilson is awesome, though. If I ever need a new identity, that's the one I'm taking.

balyien said...

I agree! I love the name Antiochus Wilson. It's too bad this film is a bit obscure. I think most people would enjoy it.