Tribeca 2018 Review: “Laboratory Conditions” (2018) ★★★★★


Imagine there is an opportunity to prove the existence of soul. I mean, we may not be able to touch it or even communicate with it, but the idea that after death it extracts itself from the body, perhaps, to look for a new one or just enter the bright light can also be considered as an option, right? But here is the thing we human beings always fail to learn or just turn a blind eye to: we may and should be able to play or manipulate with science, but we should be careful if it decides to oversmart us, because it’s smarter than us and in fact, hides the key to the answer which only with the right combination we might be able to find.

Set in Foster Country Hospital, we find Emma Holloway (Marisa Tomei) looking for her patient who seems to have vanished from the hospital. Asking the receptionist, she demands for an inquiry asking to track down her patient and identify his whereabouts before her shifts end, which is very soon. As the nurses keep looking at each other, hoping to find some logical explanation to a mystery they are unable to solve, Dr. Holloway goes out for a smoke when she notices her disappeared patient being taken inside a facility which appears to be the same hospital. As she enters the dark entrance, seconds later she is in a room full of scientists trying to test something that will change the doctor’s life forever… She just doesn’t know anything about it yet…

The best and the most fascinating and yet terrifying moments begins from there, which, honestly speaking, haunted me in my dreams… After a verbal encounter, Marjorie Cane (Minnie Driver) introduces herself to Dr. Holloway explaining her what seems to be valid reasons why she needs a patient like George Lockwood, someone that has no insurance or even a family to claim his body after his death. She promises that, if he dies, his death may serve no purpose, but while still alive he has a chance to participate in a grand experiment that can change the world forever, even though he will never be able to find out about his important contribution.

Just to reduce the part when the actual experiment begins, I should say, there is no such short film I’ve seen that could get close to what has been captured in Jocelyn Stamat’s “Laboratory Conditions”. It is intelligent, brilliantly acted, and the visual effects, trust me on that, are really outstanding. The way it captures the experiment and shows the end result will blow your mind away. For a short film, this piece is too short, but in a good way.

With such outstanding material, wicked and perfect in the best sense possible, the only complain I still have though – I could not enjoy it more than I wish I could. After the end credits it will hang with you long after, wanting to see more. And if you want to, my dear reader, submit a petition or create a campaign to show the director how desperate you’re to see more films like this that contributes true value to the world of cinema and will never go down unnoticed.


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