Get out your giant robot dinosaurs and pew pew lasers we're revie-wait I didn't see Transformers yet shit um
oh crap uh shit damn it uh um OK DON'T PANIC
*scrounges around old movies*
Ok um get out your new teeth and burned-off fingertips, we're reviewing Seconds!
Arthur Hamilton(John Randolph) seems to be bored of his old life, so he has a sketchy company "kill" him off, completely reconstruct him with plastic surgery, and give him an exciting new life as Antiochus Hamilton(Rock Hudson). But is this really the life he wants?
This is a really weird, unsettling disquieting movie. It plays out as though it were a 2-hour long Twilight Zone episode. It's weird not only in its premise, but also in how its story is set up. I could see this premise being remade in today's times, but instead of being a creepy, unsettling sci-fi noir thriller, I know it would instantly be turned into a "Sci-fi action" movie. Somehow the shlumpy old white guy would get turned into the hot new white guy, find away to break out of the system, kill a ton of dudes with kung-fu he just learned, and run away with the girl. And that–not to spoil anything–doesn't quite happen here. No, it's much more unnerving than that.
What makes it work so well, is that Arthur Hamilton is a boring shlub. He's a banker, he doesn't really have any great dreams or aspirations, his wife and daughter barely register him. And what's more, he's always a boring shlub. Even when he gets his fancy new body with Rock(Hudson)-hard abs and a chiseled jaw, he's not any more interesting or charming or witty. He doesn't have any more great ideas or aspirations. He's just a boring regular guy. And I kind of love that.
It's also incredibly acting on Rock Hudson's part for always looking like he's constantly living in someone else's skin, like he doesn't know what to do with himself. You'd expect(as Arthur expected) that after a while, good ol' Rock Hudson would come out with some smarm and get into some interesting adventure. But that doesn't happen, because he's not really Rock Hudson. He's still a regular guy with boring anecdotes and terrible jokes. He has a better life but he's not the better man.
It's like one of those stories where a normal guy instantly gets all those riches but then doesn't know what to do with them and ends up losing them. It's not to say that this average guy doesn't deserve this rich life style because he hasn't earned it. It's to say the things he thought he wanted are just empty and meaningless, and the things that people value are experiences he doesn't have. He doesn't fit in that skin. It also does a great job of subverting the idea that if only you'd look more handsome you'd instantly get the beautiful girl.
With all the sci-fi action stories we're fed these days, you expect that he's eventually going to break out and go on some chase and tear down the system, some great epic story. But it's much smaller and simpler than that. It really is just his story and self contained. It's not him vs. the evil corporation, it's him vs. himself. And that's it. And it's a really good sci-fi thriller if you don't expect some action-packed chase fest. It has a great ending, and once you realize how everything works and fits together, it's really quite unnerving.
The creepiness throughout the entire movie is helped by the great cinematography. There's a lot of early steady cam work and tons of close-ups on the protagonist's face, giving this sense of eery nausea. And I love the "dream sequence" that uses practical effects to make the environment look warped. It's really great camera work to give you a super creepy feeling. And the score is like something out of a haunted house.
Seconds is a great classic. If you want a pretty simple sci-fi noir thriller you can't go wrong.
No it doesn't have any giant robots why would you ask that
THE GOOD: Great cinematography, unnerving feeling, great thriller, great cast and acting, creepy soundtrack, great story, great bleak ending.
THE BAD: Feels like only an extended episode of the Twilight Zone, camera effects might make you nauseous.
THE VERDICT: $$$$ It's a pretty great classic thriller. Highly recommended seeing at least once for the crazy story and crazier cinematography.
MOVIES LIKE IT: Psycho, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Scarlet Street
ONE-SCENE METAPHOR: The new Mr. Wilson is leaving an airport, when a man comes up to greet him like he's an old friend, except he's just had his face and life created, how could he know who he is? Rock Hudson looks generally confused and almost a bit terrified. You can almost imagine the previous actor wearing his skin, walking around, trying to figure out how to act.