Monday, 18 July 2016

Pathology (2008)

Hot shot medical student Teddy Grey lands a place on a prestigious pathology program in Washington DC.  It means leaving his fiancee for three months, but the benefits to his career will be enormous.

Once Teddy arrives at the hospital, his skills and insight quickly bring him into conflict with a clique that has already formed amongst the pathology program students.  When he handles their hostility without showing signs of being rattled, however, they begin to welcome them into their circle.

Said circle, it emerges, is in fact a secret murder club.  These young pathologists take turns in murdering someone, attempting to make the method of the killing as obscure and undetectable as possible.  The goal is the 'perfect' murder - one where the others cannot determine the foul play involved.

Now you might expect that Teddy, when he learns of this, will try to expose the club and thus become involved in some dangerous game of cat and mouse with them.  Sort of a John Grisham story with doctors instead of lawyers.  Certainly, that's what I expected.  But no, old Ted joins up.  Now in his defence, he thinks that (a) the others have fabricated evidence that would make him the prime suspect if the latest murder was revealed and that (b) all their victims are dangerous criminals.  But still, it's not often that the protag of your average thriller is one of the killers.  And it's not like he quits the group after he discovers they're being a little more flexible about who they kill than he first realised.  Instead he starts a vigorous affair with the attractive murderess Dr Juliette Bath.

It is, in fact, only when he goes home for Thanksgiving, and his fiancee announces that she will be coming to DC with him after the holiday, that Ted begins to rethink his involvement in the murder club.  Of course, his fellow club members aren't likely to accept his resignation with good grace now, are they?

A problem with this film that is not made obvious by the above synopsis is the treatment of female characters in the film.  They pretty much exist only as points of conflict between the male characters and to titillate the male audience.

The problem that should be obvious from that synopsis, though, is this: Ted Grey is a reprehensible human being.  Learning that the club is killing pretty much indiscriminately doesn't make him leave it.  It's only when it starts to threaten the perfect life he'd been building for himself that he tries to get out.  In that context, it's very hard to care about his fate.

Also, the very finale of the film is ... well, ludicrous, even by the standards of this not exactly plausible scenario.

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