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Extreme Measures (1996, Hugh Grant, Gene Hackman)



A medical thriller in the style of Michael Crichton’s classic 1978 movie Coma, Extreme Measures is directed by seasoned campaigner Michael Apted. Produced by Liz Hurley, the film stars her then-partner, Hugh Grant, as a doctor working in a New York hospital who becomes involved in a mysterious case involving strange deaths and missing bodies. Combining ethical medical questions with all the hallmarks of the thriller genre (including a breathtaking chase scene through the Metro), this is an intelligent and thoughtful movie. Or, as Grant himself puts it in his own inimitable way, ‘The kind of movie where commercial film meets film-with-a-brain, you know?’

The good doctor starts suspecting all is not well at Gramercy hospital when a man is brought into intensive care suffering from convulsions, wearing a wristband marked ‘Triphase’. The patient dies, but not before telling Dr Luthan to go to ‘the room’ and find ‘Teddy Dolson’. Things become more sinister when the corpse disappears and the morgue denies any knowledge of it, while two men, Frank Hare (David Morse) and Detective Burke (Bill Nunn) – Burke and Hare, geddit? – seem intent on making life even more unpleasant for Luthan, ransacking his flat and planting drugs there.

Luthan is relieved of his duties at the hospital, but he makes a major breakthrough when he finds ‘the room’: a subterranean area full of homeless people who have been involuntarily operated upon in the name of medical science. With all the evidence pointing towards a renowned neurologist, Dr Lawrence Myrick (Gene Hackman), Luthan seeks help from Nurse Jodie Trammel (Sarah Jessica Parker) as he battles to stay alive.

production details
USA | 118 minutes | 1996

Director: Michael Apted
Writer: Tony Gilroy (based on the novel by Michael Palmer)

Hugh Grant as Dr. Guy Luthan
Paul Guilfoyle as Dr. Jeffrey Manko
J.K. Simmons as Dr. Mingus
Peter Appel as Det. Stone
Peter Maloney as Mr. Randall
Sarah Jessica Parker as Jodie Trammel
David Morse as FBI Agent Frank Hare
Bill Nunn as Det. Bob Burke
John Toles-Bey as Bobby
Debra Monk as Dr. Judith Gruszynski
Shaun Austin-Olsen as Claude Minkins
André De Shields as Teddy Dolson
Diana Zimmer as Helen
Nancy Beatty as Ruth Myrick
Gerry Becker as Dr. Gene Spitelli
Gene Ruffini as Izzy
Bill MacDonald as Det. Stone’s Partner
Garnet Harding as E.R. Doctor
Simon Reynolds as Simon
Derwin Jordan as E.R. Doctor
Tara Rosling as E.R. Doctor
Martin Roach as E.R. Doctor
Bernard Browne as E.R. Doctor
Sanjay Talwar as E.R. Doctor
Christina Collins as E.R. Nurse
Arlene Duncan as E.R. Nurse
Cheryl Swarts as E.R. Nurse
Johnie Chase as Cop
Noam Jenkins as Criminal
Larissa Laskin as Myrick’s Daughter
Phallon Carpino as Myrick’s Granddaughter
Ross Petty as Dr. Garlock
Todd Stewart as Shelter Supervisor
Lawrence Arancio as Medical Examiner
Vincent Marino as Janitor
Marcia DeBonis as Pam
John Ventimiglia as Det. Manning
John Heffernan as Cartman
Raynor Scheine as Half-Mole
John Trudell as Tony
Nelson Vasquez as Skicap
Vincent Laresca as Patches
Denis Akiyama as Prof. Asakura
Kim Roberts as Home Nurse
Gerry Quigley as Party Guest
Teresa Yenque as Neighbor
Chris Edwards as Uniformed Cop
David Eisner as Guy’s Lawyer
Dana Stevens as Prosecutor
Michael J. Reynolds as Judge
David Cronenberg as Hospital Lawyer
Jackie Richardson as Triphase Nurse
Marium Carvell as Triphase Nurse
Marilyn McDonald as Mole Lady
Desi Moreno as Toll Collector