Rating: 2.5 of 5
Extraordinary Measures is a good movie. It’s sentimental but not in an inauthentic way.
The performances, in fact, are all very good. Brendan Frasier looks like he’s put on weight and it doesn’t work for him. But it’s interesting to see him in a normal role, something more real than the fantastic or silly movies that have made him famous. Keri Russel, as always, is great. She has such an easy, natural aspect to her performance you almost don’t notice how good she is. Harrison Ford is good at portraying Dr. Stonehill, though the character is obnoxious and a little infuriating. Meredith Droeger stands out, making Megan Crowley delightful, endearing and wonderful.
The direction is not as good. There are shots, especially in the beginning, that are odd. They try to give a unique perspective but they ultimately don’t work. The editing is also off, letting some shots play far too long when they don’t serve the story at all. The lighting is drab and even dark at times, presumably to give the film the appropriate prosaic, disheartened feel but I didn’t love it.
The story, I felt, was both good and lacking. The central aspect of the film are the absolute lengths that John Crowley goes to for his children. He is beyond determined, fighting and bargaining and willing to sacrifice almost anything and negotiating with everyone for his children’s lives. The Crowley family is the heart of the story.
The problem, I felt, was that the story never expanded beyond the Crowley’s story.
It doesn’t explore our drug culture or how that can be turned on it’s head to dramatically effect children with this disease.
Nor does it dwell in more than a passing acknowledgment of drug research that turns a blind eye toward humanity. It states the conflict of drug research as a business with investors that expect to be paid when human lives are on the line, but never lets any of the characters really be conflicted about it.
John may be persistent, even extraordinary in creating a drug that will save his children’s lives. But it never inspires us to be that bold.
And I would like to have been inspired.