Thanks for checking out our Pathology review. For anyone who has been reading The Movie Blog for the last year or so, you know one film that I’ve gotten myself quite invested in is “Pathology”. I visited the set last year and was completely blown away by what I saw there. I’ve done a lot of set visits this past year… but none of them impressed me like this one. Ever since I’ve been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to see the full version.
In the name of full discloser I should mention that since that time I’ve become friends with Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (the writers and producers of the film, who also wrote and directed the Jason Statham film Crank). I admire both these guys for their talent and unique style of filmmaking. I’ve also hung out with Milo Ventimiglia (the star of the film) on several occasions and have had him on our Uncut Live show. I’m going to give you my 100% honest opinion on this film, but I tell you all that so that you can decide how big of a grain of salt you take with my praise and criticisms of the film. With that out of the way, let’s move on.
THE GENERAL IDEA
The synopsis of Pathology looks something like this: “Milo Ventimiglia (of the blockbuster TV series Heroes), headlines this dark crime thriller, which marks the sophomore directorial outing of Marc Schoelermann, following the 2006 telemovie Hexxx. Ventimiglia portrays a young intern, newly arrived at the University Hospital in Philadelphia, who stumbles onto a psychopathic group of colleagues playing a vile game. They regularly select one of their members (on a rotational basis) to commit the “perfect murder,” while the rest use forensic methods to try to determine exactly how the homicide was executed. Alyssa Milano (of TV’s Who’s the Boss? and Charmed) co-stars as Ventimiglia’s fiancée, while thesps Johnny Whitworth and Lauren Lee Smith are among the perpetrators.”
The very first thing I have to mention about Pathology is the performance of Michael Weston. I knew very little about Weston before this movie other than his role in “The Last Kiss” and recurring roles on “Scrubs”. To be honest, I thought he was just a warm body to fill screen space with. In hindsight, that was probably more to do with the fact that there wasn’t much for his character to do. But as the main antagonist in Pathology, Weston is given the opportunity to take the gloves off and really shine…. and shine he does! He absolutely steals every second of every scene that he’s on screen for. Intensity mixed with some genius, a dash of madness and a whole bucketful of perversion. Regardless of how well or poorly Pathology does, I believe we’re going to see a lot more of Michael Weston in the future. At least I hope we do.
The overall premise of the film is great and plays out quite well. The idea of a bunch of doctors whose job it is to figure out how people died… who themselves go out and kill people to try to stump their partners on how they did it. Great movies start with great ideas… great ideas can cover up certain other flaws in a film much like great laughs in a comedy can for otherwise bad movies.
Milo Ventimiglia proves he can indeed carry a feature film. Playing a morally ambiguous character like he does isn’t easy to pull off. He’s not the good guy… he’s not the bad guy… but he is good… and he is indeed bad… it’s a bit confusing. Yet somehow Ventimiglia finds a way to portray this character and never seem out of sync with what he’s supposed to be. The performance never contradicts itself, it’s never misleading… Ventimiglia makes you as torn about if he’s an angel or a devil as much as the character himself is.
The film promises to be sick, intense and sexy. And it does indeed deliver on all three promises. One of the earmarks of a Neveldine/Taylor written film is a “fun” factor that will sometimes supersede the “real world” or common sense mentalities that most films (as they should) strive to maintain. The movie, in all it’s seriousness, still wants to make it’s main goal to entertain the audience, and I think it succeeds on that level. I mean, I’ve never seen hotter sex scenes beside a corpse in my life. Damn Lauren Lee Smith and Mei Melançon are hot. God bless America!
I fricking loved Keir O’Donnell in this flick (you might remember him as the gay painter and younger brother in “Wedding Crashers”). I can’t say why I loved him so much in this film…. but you’ll see.
Director Marc Schoelermann has some growing to do as a feature film director. While Marc does a solid job of maintaining that feeling of intensity through the film, he failed to give the film any sense of flow. The awkward and sometimes jarring and unnatural transitions between certain scenes didn’t seem to work together and sometimes pulled you out of the movie for a few moments.
My dear lord, without a doubt the single worst scene I’ve seen in a movie this year is in Pathology. I can’t give too much of it away, but approaching the end of the film, Milo has a scene with John de Lancie (“Q” from the various Star Trek shows) who plays Milo’s boss at the county morgue. The two are having a conversation and the scene is so badly shot, so badly acted that I had to restrain a loud groan from coming out of my lips. No really… the scene really is that bad. How on earth the director filmed this scene and then said “Yeah, that’s good. That’s a wrap!” is completely beyond me.
Pathology has a very interesting group of supporting characters and actors filling those roles… but sadly they’re horribly underused almost to the point that you’re left wondering why they’re even there in the first place. The funniest guy in the film is the character played by Johnny Whitworth (Empire Records, CSI Miami), but he’s not utilized in the least. I think he maybe had 5 lines in the film. Mei Melançon had about 3 lines. Dan Callahan maybe 2. These are the doctors killing people whom the story arcs around and yet they’re given no attention whatsoever. Yes Weston and Ventimiglia are your two main characters, but you have to budget your time to take advantage of other elements of your story as well. I think these supporting characters were a real missed opportunity to add more flavor and depth to the film.
Pathology ends up being a smart, sexy, sick and somewhat twisted thriller that is quite enjoyable and a lot of fun to watch. The movie is hindered by lack of flow to the story telling, one of the worst scenes I’ve seen in years and a regrettably misused set of supporting characters, but overall still a great time at the theater. What can I say? I think it’s a great movie! Overall I give Pathology a 7.5 out of 10. Catch it this weekend if you have the chance.