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Coma

Year: 1978
Production Co: MGM
Director: Michael Crichton
Writer: Michael Crichton
Cast: Michael Douglas, Genevieve Bujold, Rip Torn, Richard Widmark, Tom Selleck
A classic paranoid thriller from the 1970s, only this time with medicine rather than politics as the background. And with the razor sharp mind and grasp of both drama and science of Michael Crichton on both scribbling and megaphone duties, you know it's going to be blisteringly tense.

Using a bare minimum of sound design and music, and with the clinical white walls and corporate cloisters of the Chicago medical fraternity as a fool's paradise, Crichton tells the story of a huge conspiracy taking place between the city's preeminent hospital and a shadowy government research institute that seems to employ few staff but tight security.

Surgeon Genevieve Bujold tries to convince her sometime boyfriend Michael Douglas - another doctor - there's something going on when she uncovers a history of patients needing minor treatment lapse into comas and disappear, and in true thriller style her every claim is easily thwarted by fate or circumstance, everyone believing her crazy or exhausted.

The strongest point is the brilliantly nail-biting moment when the villain has her in his clutches and everything seems lost, but a seemingly insignificant line ('I want OR7') turns everything around.

Understated, subtle, nerve-sawing and effective.

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