Earnest indie “Ocean of Pearls” was inspired by first-time helmer Sarab S. Neelam’s experiences as a Canadian-Indian Sikh shocked by the inequities of the U.S. healthcare system during a residency. But this mix of tepid hospital intrigue plus underdeveloped cultural/relationship conflicts feels like a routine TV episode stretched to feature length, with little dramatic urgency or cinematic style to render its good intentions compelling. Slated for June release Stateside, it will find easier berths on the smallscreen.
Amrit (Omid Abtahi) is a brilliant young surgeon whose development of a solution lengthening the shelf life of harvested organs attracts an offer to head a Detroit hospital’s new transplant center. But upon arrival, he discovers a senator’s yuppie son (Todd Babcock) also vying for the job, and his own practice of wearing a turban (to respect his dad’s staunch traditionalism) stirs racial biases. He’s appalled to discover that payment ability, rather than need, can determine the fates of patients in terminal crisis. Meanwhile, he wavers between the g.f. he left behind (Navi Rawat) and a flirtatious co-worker (Heather McComb). Perfs are OK, obvious plot points telegraphed, design/tech contributions generic.