Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"Control" is a rather contrived thriller about a faked execution

Control” (2004), by Tim Hunter, is another thriller that teases with the afterlife idea (compare to the 2007 "Lazarus" film reviewed here Jan. 9). 
In a crude opening scene, Lee Ray Oliver (Roy Liotta) is strapped to a gurney, electrodes on his barren but tattooed chest, getting injected.  Then the body bag is opened in a secret location, and Oliver wakes up, and is given a chance at a second life, if he will undergo an experimental drug therapy to reform his brain chemistry. The neuroscientist Dr. Michael Copeland is played by an earnest Willem Dafoe.
The reform will be rocky.  Ray is still violent at first (and the movie shows plenty of flashbacks of his horrible boyhood) but gradually calms down, and tries to contact the family of one of his victims, where a young man is now mentally disabled (talking like a simpleton) because of a gunshot wound purportedly from Ray.  The young man’s brother gets involved and, when learning that Ray is still alive, wants to finish justice himself.
But then another element of the plot opens up.  It seems that Ray was on a placebo, and had controlled his violent tendencies only because he believed he was on the meds.

This film was more stereotyped and not as original as the “Lazarus” film reviewed recently.  The brief theatrical release was through First Look. 
The DVD was released by Millennium (and Emmett/Furla) and is available through Netflix.

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