×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

State of Emergency

Filmed in Los Angeles by Chestnut Hill Prods. for HBO Showcase. Executive producers, Jeffrey Lurie, Collin Callender; producers, John P. Marsh, Jay Roewe; director, Lesli Linka Glatter; writers, Susan Black, Lance Gentile; If President Clinton needs a movie to help sell his health care plan, "State of Emergency" would be the perfect fit. The HBO telefilm, starring the always-worth-watching Joe Mantegna, throws light on the dark situation evolving in America's emergency rooms, where patients far outnumber doctors and available equipment, and where the corporate mentality has replaced the Hippocratic oath.

With:
Cast: Joe Mantegna, Lynn Whitfield, Melinda Dillon, Paul Dooley, Robert Beltran, Christopher Birt, Dean Cameron, Deborah Unger, Paul Benvictor, F. William Parker, Richard Beymer, Jay O. Sanders, Lucy Butler, Gerald Castillo, John Considine.

Filmed in Los Angeles by Chestnut Hill Prods. for HBO Showcase. Executive producers, Jeffrey Lurie, Collin Callender; producers, John P. Marsh, Jay Roewe; director, Lesli Linka Glatter; writers, Susan Black, Lance Gentile; If President Clinton needs a movie to help sell his health care plan, “State of Emergency” would be the perfect fit. The HBO telefilm, starring the always-worth-watching Joe Mantegna, throws light on the dark situation evolving in America’s emergency rooms, where patients far outnumber doctors and available equipment, and where the corporate mentality has replaced the Hippocratic oath.

Based on the experiences of an emergency room doctor, “State of Emergency” dips into fiction for the needed dramatic elements, but the producers, writers and director Lesli Linka Glatter have assembled a no-holds-barred medical drama that smacks of real life.

Tight script by Susan Black and Lance Gentile provides the fuel for a fine perf by Mantegna as John Novelli, an emergency room doctor drowning in frustration.

Just when the boiling point hits, enter hardware king John Anderson (Paul Dooley), who has been in an auto accident and is suffering from head trauma. Anderson’s condition worsens as he lies on a gurney, and Novelli, operating without a neurosurgeon or CAT scanner, improvises a cure that temporarily revives Anderson but proves to be his death blow. Anderson’s wife (Melinda Dillon) files suit and won’t accept a settlement.

Lynn Whitfield gives a strong supporting perf as an emergency room tech, as do Dillon and Dooley.

Telepic opens a bit stiff but loosens up as the action heats up. Underlying political message is overplayed at times, and vidpic spends more time exploring the system’s wounds than investivating how they can be mended.

Nonetheless, “State of Emergency” is provoking and watchable — which is quite a rarity on TV.

State of Emergency

Production: HBO, Sat. Feb. 12, 8 p.m.

Crew: Camera, Frank Byers; editors, Hubert De La Bouillerie, Tracy S. Granger; production designer, Nina Ruscio; music, Robert Folk. 120 MIN.

With: Cast: Joe Mantegna, Lynn Whitfield, Melinda Dillon, Paul Dooley, Robert Beltran, Christopher Birt, Dean Cameron, Deborah Unger, Paul Benvictor, F. William Parker, Richard Beymer, Jay O. Sanders, Lucy Butler, Gerald Castillo, John Considine.

More Film

  • Oh Mercy

    Cannes Film Review: 'Oh Mercy'

    It takes more than just watching “Oh Mercy” to understand exactly why Arnaud Desplechin was drawn to the subject matter of his latest movie, a reasonably engrossing police procedural with roots in a 2008 TV documentary. Something of an unexpected detour in the veteran director’s weighty career, the film combines multiple strands to paint a [...]

  • Spielberg's Amblin Chief Jeff Small on

    Listen: Spielberg's Amblin Chief on Making 'Movies in the Middle'

    With the sequel “A Dog’s Journey” now in theaters, Amblin Partners continues to find ways to release the kind of films that aren’t typical of what dominates American multiplexes these days. An follow-up to the 2017 surprise hit “A Dog’s Purpose,” “Journey” is just another example of the cinematic strategy evident at Amblin, the production [...]

  • I Lost My Body

    French Animation 'I Lost My Body' Tops Cannes Critics' Week Winners

    “I Lost My Body,” a dark French animated film from writer-director Jérémy Clapin, has come up trumps in this year’s Critics’ Week program at the Cannes Film Festival, taking the strand’s top honor, the Nespresso Grand Prize. The film, which follows a young man’s severed hand as it struggles to be reunited with its own, [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Talent Agents Blast Verve Agreement With Writers Guild

    The lead negotiator for Hollywood’s talent agencies has again blasted the Writers Guild and its recent agreement with the Verve agency — and cautioned other agencies against following suit. Verve defected from the major agencies on May 16 when it became the first sizable Hollywood talent agency to sign the WGA’s Code of Conduct. That [...]

  • Forest Whitaker

    Netflix Teams With Forest Whitaker on 'Hello, Universe' Movie

    Netflix and Forest Whitaker are collaborating on live-action family movie “Hello, Universe,” based on the 2018 Newbery Award winner and New York Times bestselling novel by Erin Entrada Kelly. Playwright and screenwriter Michael Golamco (“Always Be My Maybe”) will adapt the book. Whitaker and Nina Yang Bongiovi (“Fruitvale Station”) of Significant Productions will produce. The [...]

  • Lauren Ash44th Annual Gracie Awards, Show,

    Politics and New Abortion Ban Laws Dominate 2019 Gracie Awards

    Female empowerment was in the air Tuesday night as showrunners, writers and performers gathered at the 44th annual Gracie Awards to celebrate women breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings within the entertainment industry. Sandra Oh, Patricia Arquette, Rachel Maddow and Connie Britton were among the honorees at the ceremony, which took place at the Beverly [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content