Brainstorm Movie Review


The Ultimate Experience
Brainstorm Picture
Christopher Walken stars


Christopher Walken, Jordan Christopher, Natalie Wood, Donald Hotton

Louise Fletcher, Alan Fudge, Cliff Robertson, Joe Dorsey, Bill Morey, Jason Lively, Darrell Larson, Lou Walker, Stacey Kuhne-Adams, John Hugh, Ira David Wood III, Keith Colbert, Jerry Bennett, Mary Fran Lyman, Jack Harmon, Nina Axelrod Update Cast


Look for Lana Clarkson making a cameo appearance!

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Brainstorm was directed by special effects genius Douglas Trumbull who had created the effects for numerous other productions including "Blade Runner" and "Close Encounters". He also directed Sci-Fi classic "Silent Running" in 1972.

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Brilliant and eccentric scientists create a machine that records and plays back all sensory experiences from the human brain. A person's experiences of smell, taste, touch, hearing, emotion, and it turns out, experiences of the soul, are all captured by this breakthrough device.

At first the device is huge and unwieldy, but soon it is reduced to almost personal stereo dimensions, enabling people to capture their experience on rollercoasters and suchlike.

The scientists work for a private research company that also receives government money, and this latter point proves to be a problem. As the news of the breakthrough spreads amongst the interested parties who funded the research, dark motives and big-brother type government and military people show up to claim their prize, eager to hijack the project for sinister purposes.

As the scientists become aware of what is going on, the stress of the situation causes one to have a heart attack. But, in a moment of inspiration before she dies, she manages to hook herself up to the machine and hits "record". Her entire experience, that we, the audience, only see much later in the film, is recorded to shiny, holographic looking computer tape.

The rest of the movie is occupied by the remaining scientist's mission to retake his project, remove it from the hands of the evildoers, and of course, replay his now deceased partner's death experience.

Intermixed with all this are a number of subplots and events that are used to develop the characters and portray more of what the machine is really capable of, nothing less than a "brainstorm".

Christopher Walken appears early in his career, and uses his characteristicly peculiar speech patterns and mannerisms to good effect here. He is the typical eccentric genius, not well understood by others, and definitely not by his soon-to-be ex-wife, played brilliantly by Natalie Wood. Louise Fletcher takes a break from her usual icy roles to join the cast as Walken's determined co-researcher.

Natalie does a fantastic job portraying the still-in-love-but-can't-live-with-him spouse. In one great scene, after she replays a brainstorm machine recording made for her by Walken ("that's for you - it's me"), she lunges towards him and embraces him with newfound understanding. In another scene, she gives a touching performance in an intimate (but not smutty) exchange of words and song in bed with her rediscovered husband.

There are a few continuity goofs with this film, but not terribly noticeable, unless you watch it several times over.

Terrific and imaginative (even by todays standards) visual effects help make this film. Near the end, there is a brilliantly creative portrayal of what a person's soul experiences as it drifts off towards the light (literally). Individual moments of our lives are represented by an almost infinite number of geometrically arranged spheres...

Author: Brad McMillanUpdate This Review


Well worth watching, and owning, for science fiction buffs.

All in all, this is a much better film than some say. In my books, it warrants a solid 8 out of 10.

Plot, imaginative storyline and concepts, great visual effects for the era, decent musical score
Some continuity goofs

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The Movie Data

Key Crew

Director: Douglas Trumbull
Writer: Philip Frank Messina, Bruce Joel Rubin, Robert Stitzel
Producers: Joel L. Freedman, Douglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich
Locations Manager:

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Release Date: 30 Sep 1983
MPAA Rating: PG
Studio: MGM/UA
Production: JF Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Genre: Sci-Fi

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The Movie Trailer
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1983 MGM/UA
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