A healthy dose of drama

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Filmreviews -

SCI­ENCE HAS got­ten a bad rap lately. Peo­ple are protest­ing against schools teach­ing Dar­win­ism, di­ag­nos­ing them­selves based on Google searches, and em­brac­ing a dizzy­ing num­ber of fad di­ets. Mis­in­for­ma­tion and con­fu­sion about sci­ence seems to be spread­ing across all me­dia. So Ex­traor­di­nary Mea­sures has the ac­ci­den­tal good for­tune of prov­ing top­i­cal. Even its tagline (“Don’t hope for a mir­a­cle, make one“) sounds like a poke in the eye to the re­li­gious right.

The premise cer­tainly sounds de­cid­edly like a medi­ocre TV movie. Pompe dis­ease is a rare ge­netic ill­ness that hin­ders the abil­ity to break down su­gar, even­tu­ally at­tack­ing the mus­cles and heart.

When we meet John Crow­ley (Bren­dan Fraser), two of his three chil­dren are suf­fer­ing from the po­ten­tially fa­tal dis­ease. A sliver of hope is rep­re­sented by a surly sci­en­tist Bob Stone­hill (Har­ri­son Ford). De­spite his po­ten­tially rev­o­lu­tion­ary work, Stone­hill’s ca­reer has been un­der-funded and over­looked. Ea­ger for money for Bob’s re­search, the des­per­ate dad and the an­gry doc go into busi­ness to­gether, putting all their chips on Stone­hill’s po­ten­tial cure.

De­spite the work­man­like di­rec­tion, Ex­traor­di­nary Mea­sures is a sur­pris­ingly in­gra­ti­at­ing. Both Fraser and Ford are ideally cast and, while it would have been nice if there was a lit­tle more sci­ence and a lit­tle less pre­co­cious kids, this de­vel­ops into a emo­tion­ally pow­er­ful drama of gen­uine hero­ism.


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