Anthony's Film Review
Extraordinary Measures (2010)
A simple film based on an interesting and inspiring true story...
Extraordinary Measures is not a bad movie, but I thought I'd first point out the one thing about it that stood out the whole time I watched it. Even though it stars Brendan Fraser and Harrison Ford, two big names in Hollywood, the movie is not a big-budget production. Believe it or not, it has the look and feel of a made-for-television movie, one that is not likely appear on giant movie theater screens because of its very simple story and basic production design. In fact, the production company is CBS Films, which is obviously related to the American television network CBS.
This is evident once the film starts. Brendan Fraser is a pharmaceutical businessman named John Crowley, who is rushing to get to his daughter's birthday party on time. It's mainly a joyous scene that precedes the dramatic revelation. Crowley, along with his wife Aileen (played by Keri Russell), has three children, two of whom have Pompe's disease. It's a rare disorder in which an enzyme defect prevents glycogen in muscle from being metabolized, causing problems with the heart, diaphragm, and skeletal muscles. Crowley knows that the life expectancy of children with Pompe's disease is very short and wants to find a cure for his kids.
In a departure from frequently being credited as first actor, Harrison Ford is in this film as a supporting actor. He plays Robert Stonehill, a biochemistry professor at the University of Nebraska. He is on the verge of discovering a potential cure for Pompe's disease, which is why Crowley goes to great lengths to contact Stonehill. It takes a while before Crowley and Stonehill form a partnership to get funds from venture capitalists and start their own pharmaceutical company. It's a big step towards finding a cure for Pompe's disease.
I admit that the first half of the movie feels mundane, as if the movie doesn't want to try to deliver an impressive presentation. It has the potential to bore the audience. But the second half gets better, even though it's only somewhat better. This is where conflicts arise between the academic Stonehill and the compassionate Crowley and between the science and business sides of drug development. There isn't really a climax in this movie, but once the second to last scene plays, there's a sense of inspiration.
There really is nothing extraordinary about Extraordinary Measures. That's not to say it's ordinary. A true story about a man's quest to find a cure for a rare disease is certainly no ordinary story, and it's told well enough here. Therefore, I'm willing to give this movie a slightly positive rating. What could make it better is if there were to be heavier drama and more intense conflict, which is the essence of any intriguing story. But as it stands, this movie offers some feeling of hope.
For more information about Extraordinary Measures, visit the Internet Movie Database.