About three weeks ago, I dreamt I was sitting with a group of people around a table in some sort of parapsychology lab. It was sort of like a séance, only instead of contacting spirits, we were trying to “make something happen.”
After one session, I went into an adjacent room full of computer equipment, etc., and found a a group of electronic cables had all fused into a big ball. Somehow this was significant — and somehow the affect of the dream was such that my unconscious dream controller pressed the “Abort!” button, and I woke up suddenly.
On some level, the dream reminded me of the 1990 movie Flatliners, in which a group of medical students try to create their own near-death experiences. There is Kieffer Sutherland as the bold leader (“Philosophy failed. Religion failed. Now it’s time for medical science to try.”), Oliver Platt as the over-intellectualizing Jew (“I did not come to medical school to murder my class mates no matter how deranged they might be.”), Kevin Bacon as the angry but good-hearted skeptic, and Julia Roberts as the girl who is one of the guys.
Sutherland’s character is actually expressing a very 19th-century notion, but let’s set that aside. Set aside too why some demented set designer felt that Bacon’s character should drive an Army surplus M751 truck — in Chicago.
All of the medical students who “flatline” find themselves in an Otherworld where they must confront people whom they wronged. On some intuitive level, I always felt that the movie might have captured a sliver of the after-death experience, just as The Cuckoo has an interesting shamanic sequence.
Or am I kidding myself? Is it possible to portray the Otherworld realistically on film? And what does “realistically” mean in such a context?