Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Brain Machine (1977)

An abysmal conspiracy/sci-fi thriller that features a numbing combination of incoherent storytelling and undercooked concepts, The Brain Machine is a deeply confusing movie. The discombobulated narrative begins when a doctor flees a hospital with secret files in his possession. Next, the film depicts a nefarious government experiment that the doctor tries to impede even as secret agents hunt him down. Yet what should be a simple suspense story plays out as a bewildering mess, because the filmmakers fail to provide bedrock elements such as an explanation of what the government experiment is designed to accomplish. Moreover, the picture lacks anything resembling suspense, since it contains endless scenes of characters either reclining on lawn furniture or engaging in nonsensical philosophical debates. Somewhere in the muck, it becomes evident that a number of civilians have been recruited to participate in the experiment because they don't have close family ties, meaning they're expendable (or something like that). Beyond that, it’s anybody’s guess. Among the actors playing the participants are future TV notables James Best (later to appear on The Dukes of Hazard) and Gerald McRaney (later to star in Simon & Simon). Best plays a haunted priest given to enigmatic musings like this one: “If I could hear the music I heard when I was young, I wouldn’t be out of step.” McRaney, virtually unrecognizable without his trademark moustache, mostly makes vituperative declarations stemming from some unexplained brand of righteous indignation. Very little actually happens in The Brain Machine, except for some violence in flashbacks and a vignette of a fellow getting electrocuted. Suffice to say, the organ mentioned in the title of The Brain Machine is not one that the movie engages.

The Brain Machine: SQUARE

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