Review: ‘Coma’

Coma is an extremely entertaining suspense drama in the Hitchcock tradition. Director-adapter Michael Crichton neatly builds mystery and empathy around star Genevieve Bujold, a doctor who grows to suspect her superiors of deliberate surgical error. Michael Douglas also stars as her disbelieving lover.

Coma is an extremely entertaining suspense drama in the Hitchcock tradition. Director-adapter Michael Crichton neatly builds mystery and empathy around star Genevieve Bujold, a doctor who grows to suspect her superiors of deliberate surgical error. Michael Douglas also stars as her disbelieving lover.

Robin Cook’s novel is adapted by Crichton into a smartly-paced tale which combines traditional Hitchcock elements with contemporary personal relationships. Thus Bujold and Douglas wrestle in sub-plot with separate identity and mutual romantic problems while she becomes the innocent enmeshed in suspicious medical wrongdoing. When lifelong friend Lois Chiles goes into permanent coma during an otherwise routine operation, Bujold begins probing a series of similar incidents.

Arrayed against her are hospital superiors Richard Widmark and Rip Torn, and even Douglas himself. Lance Le Gault is a hired killer whom Bujold outwits to the relief of the entire audience.

Elizabeth Ashley is notable as the head of a dubious medical experimental centre where the comatose victims vegetate pending ghoulish, but all-too-plausible disposition.

Coma

Production

M-G-M. Director Michael Crichton; Producer Martin Erlichman; Screenplay Michael Crichton; Camera Victor J. Kemper, Gerald Hirschfeld; Editor David Bretherton; Music Jerry Goldsmith;; Art Director Albert Brenner

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1978. Running time: 113 MIN.

With

Genevieve Bujold Michael Douglas Elizabeth Ashley Rip Torn Richard Widmark Lois Chiles
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